Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Okay to be Clueless

Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 12:16:15 PM
Subject: It's okay to be clueless
I loved hearing the highlights of Stake Conference from everyone. We really have the greatest stake ever. I am so grateful for President Sinclair and all he has done for us.
Laney got her mission call?!?! Ahh! That is so awesome. She will be great.
Let me know if any other friends get their calls!

This week was...weird. It was all a blur. I got so little sleep with a lot of work haha. I definitely felt the enabling power of the atonement of Christ. SO much. It amazes me.I really could not have even stayed awake this week without Him. But I did that and missionary work, so I am filled with so much gratitude.

So TRANSFERS! We got up at 4 AM and began our long 4 stop and 5 and a half hour drive to Kirtland. Driving gave me lots of time to ponder and see how beautiful Ohio is. It is so strange how much my views have changed the past 6 months. Anyways, so we finally get to transfers, with 2 minutes to spare. Then we ran in and we met the new missionaries who we would be training. My new companion's name is Elder Gorringe. He is great. He just graduated High School and is from Riverton, Utah. He has a great testimony. He really is excited to work and wants to be obedient. That's everything I could have asked for in a companion. I am excited to serve together. Oh and he is a Visa waiter too. For Rosario, Argentina.

When we got back to the Zone Leader's apartment, we started taking out Elder Gorringe's bags and realized he was missing one. The small carry on he brought that had all his journals, his letters from home, scriptures, Preach My Gospel. So we made some calls and couldn't find it anywhere. We said a prayer that night and asked that we might somehow find it. and...MIRACLES ARE REAL! His bag had fallen out of the back of the truck on the high way on our long 5 hour drive. But this kind man pulled off the side a few hours later, picked up the bag and all the belongings he could find, and called Delta to let them know he found a lost bag. Wow. That is incredible. How many people in the world would pull off to pick up a bag at the side of the highway?! Anyways, so we got it back. He lost a few things, but his scriptures and journal were okay.

The next few days were stretching for me. It was hard and I love it. That is one huge lesson I have learned is that hard things aren't meant to make us unhappy. We can be happy and do hard things at the same time! But training is harder than I expected. I really felt overwhelmed and inadequate, but I prayed with all my heart for the enabling power of the atonement to strengthen me and help me be more than I am. And wow, I saw that. We went tracting one of his first few nights here and I was so happy. I was so filled with love for every person we talked to. I felt so much help and power to be happy and optimistic. Not only in that, but it so many other things this week. I am by no means even close to perfect. But I am doing it. I am doing what the Lord called me to do. "The Lord doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called." and that is so so true. He will always strengthen us to be able to do what He wants.

I am doing so well. I am focused on what is most important or at least trying my best.
Tomorrow will be the official 6 month mark of my mission. I only have 17 months left! I really thought that I would know what I am doing by this point haha. When I left the MTC, I remember thinking "Okay, in 6 months, that will be awesome. I will know what I'm doing. I will be good." Yeah...I'm still waiting for that. I don't know if I will ever know completely what I am doing . And that is okay because I am not in charge here. I may not know the perfect way to work with the wards, to knock on doors, or to teach the word of wisdom, but in the past 6 months, there are things that I have learned and am sure about:
I know that Heavenly Father really is performing His work. THIS IS IT! This is "the great and marvelous work"! These are times that have been prophesied for thousands of years. You are literally living in the times that Daniel and Isaiah and Christ himself have prophesied of! We are a part of history in the making. This IS His marvelous work. He can do great things with us, even though we are not the greatest tools, He can make us the great tools He needs. The atonement is real.
I know that Christ lives. He is such a dear friend to me. The past 6 months, I have grown closer to Him. I love Him so much. More than I could have imagined 6 months ago. He is everything to me. Being like Him is everything to me. This is ALL about Him. and it's okay that we don't always know what we are doing, because He does. and He will never ever leave us on our own. He loves us SO much. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thank you for all you do! I am so blessed to have the greatest family and friends.
Have a wonderful week!


Elder Heath Tenney

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

From: "Heath Tenney"  
Sent: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:43:13 AM
Subject: "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Hey Family!
So tomorrow is transfers again, so thats why I'm writing on Tuesday again. I cannot believe this transfer is already over. It seems like it just started. But wow, what a past 6 weeks it has been. I have definitely been stretched in many ways and I have learned so much.
I found out that I will be training a new missionary starting tomorrow. I will be staying in St. Marys. I am so excited to do that! At first, I was a little scared and felt inadequate, but I remembered D&C 38:30 "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." So I realize, yes I am inadequate, I think we are always inadequate in the Lord's service, but that doesn't matter because the Lord has prepared us to do what He calls us to do, so I know I can do it. But that scripture is so much of what I learned this week.
I realized last week that in terms of the work here, we have kind of been going in circles. Just doing the same thing over and over again...(going to a city, stopping by potential investigators who usually aren''t there or dont live there anymore). So I realized we need to do things differently. We started to do that this week. We stopped by a nursing home to volunteer and see when we could come sing hymns and talk with people there, we stopped by several funeral homes and added our names to clergy that could be called, and we started tracting more.
Weston sent me some awesome tips on tracting that we practiced and applied this week. It was so helpful. So things are getting better and changing!
At one door, we were talking with this guy named Ron, he told us he wasn't interested because he had a church. I felt prompted to tell him a little bit about Joseph Smith. I told him how Joseph was confused as to what church to join and didn't know what to do, so he prayed and asked God. Then Heavenly Father appeared to him with Jesus Christ and answered his prayer. He was so interested, he kept saying, "Really?!" and after I finished, he said "Wow, that is amazing. You just gave me the goose bumps!" He was excited to have us come back and tell him more. So we are going back tonight!
We had a lot of success tracting this week, which is not a usual thing. I am so confident that it came from our studies and practices in the morning. We did role plays of door approaches and read through Weston's tips and we prepared. Then we were blessed with success because we prepared. There really is so much power in being prepared.
Last night we had a great lesson with a less active man. He told us why he had left the church and his concerns. I felt like all we could do was listen. So I listened. After he told us his story and concerns, I felt exactly what I needed to share with him. We bore sincere testimony to him that God loves him and will guide him and answer his prayers as he seeks him. It was sad to hear about his downfall, but I know he can come back. He knows too. It is always amazing to leave a lesson feeling the approval of Heavenly Father knowing we did out part. It's up to the person to act, but we just invite.
I am so excited to train and to help a new missionary get started off the right way. I am so excited to work hard and be 100% obedient together. I know even more miracles are just waiting to happen here in St. Marys! There is so much power in preparing.
I love this. I can't believe I am 1/4 of the way done with my mission. I am terrified of finishing. There really is nothing else in the world I want to do or even want to think about. I know that this is truly the work of the Savior. Nothing else could change me like this is. It's easy to get distracted on other things, but He really is the center of all we do. I love Him so much.
Have a wonderful week!
Elder Heath Tenney

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Working with the Savior in Sight

1810 Winston Dr.
St. Marys, OH 45885

Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 12:00:53 PM
Subject: Working with the Savior in sight

I can't believe it has already been another week. Time goes by so fast. Christmas is in 4 months?! That is so crazy. I am almost 1/4 of the way done with my mission? ahh. It is weird. I really am cherishing my time though. There is literally nothing in the world I would rather be doing. I occasionally have thoughts such as "Man, I miss that..." or "this person..." or whatever. But then after a few seconds I think, "Wait! I am literally serving THE SAVIOR!... I don't miss any of that." I really am so grateful for this time.
Anyways this week has been a great one. I usually say that the week was hard, but this week wasn't that hard...which I think is part of the reason we didn't have great success. But it was still good.
A couple weeks ago, I felt prompted that I need to do more in language study with Elder Mitchell. I usually just study alone during that time because I felt like it was more personally effective. So I started doing that and practicing with him more, then a week later, the Lord blessed us with Spanish speakers to teach! But since then Elder Mitchell has gotten so much better at Spanish and it has been amazing to see the progress. So our language study has been so great and we are really helping each other to grow. It was a good lesson for me that I am not just here to grow personally, but to help others and grow together.
I went up to Lima, Ohio this week on exchanges with Elder Taylor. It was really good. I loved being able to work with him. Elder Taylor came out with me as well. We were in a biking area so that was fun to bike everywhere again. We worked really hard together and I learned a lot from him. It left me with a greater desire to work hard and use the Lord's time in the best way we can. So I was grateful for that. One funny story from our exchange, we were teaching a recent convert named George, and he is a little bit slow, I think he is slightly autistic, but such a sweet guy with a great testimony. He doesn't have great volume control, so he kind of yells everything haha. I asked him what it felt like to know that he lived with Heavenly Father before this life. He responded, "It felt good! It felt great! It felt wonderful! It felt....BOOM! DYNAMITE! Oh so right!...It felt good..." It was so funny. I love Greg. I definitely agree with him. It definitely feels dynamite to know that we lived with Heavenly Father.
Then on Saturday, we had a great lesson with Domingo. He 1st talked to us, and told us he appreciated what we do, but he knows the gospel, so we should spend our time with other people who don't know Christ, like his roommates. I told him that it was so great that he knows the gospel. I said "We aren't here because we think you don't know Christ. That is so great that you do. We are here because Christ's church, the same church he established when he was here, is here on the earth again! Los cielos estan abiertos!  (The heavens are opened!) and that is why we are here, because we want you to know about His true church and authority that is here on the earth." So he agreed to meet with us. It was so great to teach him. Elder Mitchell did great with Spanish and Domingo was excited to pray about what we taught. He shared with us that he had been praying to know a place he could go to church because no one spoke Spanish at the churches by his house and he hasn't been able to go since he left Mexico, but he really wants to. Then we came over and he knew we were the answer to his prayers. The only problem is he doesn't have a ride and we don't have any members who live in his city to give him a ride. So please pray for Domingo to be able to find a way to church.
This week I realized that,I think partially due to the lack of success we have been having in St. Marys, I had a couple of times finished the day with the mindset of, "Okay, after this lesson, then we will go home." It's not that I wasn't enjoying working or anything. I was just working with the end in sight. But that is not the way I should be doing it at all. I realized that I shouldn't be running with the finish line in sight, I should just be focused on running my heart out. So I tried to be better this week and I felt so much better in my standing with the Lord and in the work I did. I learned that we should never work with the end in sight, but just work with the Savior in sight. And that gives me the motivation to work as hard as I can ALL day. So I am so grateful for the spirit teaching me these things to do better. I know that this really is the work of the Savior. I love being a part of it!
Thank you for all your love and prayers! I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, August 5, 2013

I Stand All Amazed

From: "Heath Tenney" 

Sent: Monday, August 5, 2013 12:00:00 PM
Subject: I stand all amazed

Hello family!
This was an awesome week. Earlier this week, Elder Mitchell and I were talking about how society (myself included) today misuses the words like "amazing" or "awesome". They aren't just casual words like "Oh, that burger was awesome." Awesome means it left you in awe. Amazing means you were really amazed, surprised, in awe. But anyways, after thinking about that and what amazed really means, I really can say that I stand all amazed at the hand of the Lord in this week and always. I really do stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.
So on Wednesday, it was the last day of the month, so we decided to spend the last of our miles (we have a limited amount that we can drive each month)tracting in the farm land, because we don't get to talk to people out there very often. It was a gorgeous, misty day. There was fog all around us and in the fields of crops, it was beautiful. Anyways, there was one really creepy house Courtney would have loved. We started walking to it, and around the house they had a barbed wire fence, and behind the fence there were 3 cows. As we walked closer to the fence, these cows came running towards us. Then when they got about 20 feet away, they stopped. They just starred at us as we walked up the driveway. It was really weird but funny haha.
On Friday we had a long day, we rode bikes all around Celina again. We stopped by about 12 potential investigators and several less active members, but no one was home. Then we tracted for a little bit...so after dinner I was kind of beat. Sadly, I felt ready to just go home because I felt like our efforts weren't doing any good. But I knew I shouldn't feel like that, so I pulled out a picture of the Savior that I keep in the car, and I just looked at it. I looked into His eyes, and I asked myself "why are you here?" Looking into His eyes, I felt and remembered why I am here. I am here because I love Him! I'm out here serving because I love Him and I want to do what He wants me to do. So it doesn't matter that I feel tired and that I haven't had much success, what matters is that I am doing what He wants me to do because I love Him! That's all we really need, just knowing that we are doing what the Lord wants us to do. If we can feel that and know that, nothing else is important. So that experience gave me a big boost for the night and other times in the week when I began to feel that way. I feel like one of  Satan's biggest tools on most missionaries, well on people in general is to try to make them forget why they are here. There is so much power in remembering the why.
So for dinner that night, I wanted to go eat at this Mexican restaurant, to hopefully find some Spanish speaking people we can talk with (Mexican food wasn't a bad perk either). I have been praying almost every day to be able to find people who we can share the gospel with in Spanish. When I 1st got to St. Marys, all the members said "you won't get to use your spanish here." But still I have been praying, so I wanted to put ourself in a place where we could at least have that opportunity. So we went there, we ate some below decent Mexican food, the "Mexican" workers didn't even speak Spanish, they charged me extra for shrimp, it was over priced...so that didn't quite work out as I planned. haha. So objective failed, right? No! We showed the Lord in going there that we really wanted and were willing to do whatever we needed to do in order to find Spanish speaking people. And we were blessed for that. Later that night, we stopped by Emmanuel, a guy other Elders had talked with before, but they said he wasn't worth the time. We showed up there and he was excited to see us, he ran and got his friend, Domingo, because he really wanted to introduce Domingo to us. So we got to talk with them for 30 minutes in Spanish. Domingo is so prepared. Emmanuel told us that whenever anyone offers him beer or to smoke, he says no. Whenever the other guys in their apartment or at work are partying and having a good time, Domingo is in his room studying the Bible. He is just a good good guy. He is from Mexico, and doesn't speak any English. Emmanuel said that he (himself) isn't nearly as good as Domingo, he has lots of problems and sins, but feels like he needs to get closer to the Lord and wants to do it. They were really excited to come to church and said they would be there! So now we are teaching Domingo and Emmanuel, in a place where not even the Mexican restaurants have Mexicans. When I got home that night, and kneeled down to pray, all I could do was smile and silently say in my head "you did it! Thank you Heavenly Father, thank you." I felt His excitement with me. He answered my prayers! I laid in my bed in awe, trying to fall alseep, just thinking of the great miracle the Lord had done for us. Ahh. I am still excited thinking about it now! He answers our prayers! He really really does! Don't ever doubt Him, because I promise He will answer the righteous desires of your heart!
Lastly, on Saturday night, we were riding home right at the Sunset. We were riding on this bike path that along the "Great St. Marys Lake." Yeah. During the Sunset. I was freaking out...I almost crashed a couple times, and almost hit a few dogs...and kids. But anyways, it was SO gorgeous. It wasn't blocked by trees, it was just the open sky, reflecting off the water. I was truly filled with awe. As I starred at the orange, pink, and purple filled sky over the water, I couldn't imagine how anyone could ever doubt the existence of God. The amazing part is that it happens every night. That is what is so amazing about Heavenly Father, we can see thousands of sunsets, they happen every day. But when we take the time to really notice them or when we take the time to see what He has done for us, we can stand all amazed over and over and over again. It leaves me standing amazed thinking how could I ever doubt Him.
God is real. so real. He doesn't just exist, he knows you. He knows every little personal challenge you have, even the things that seem so deep inside of you no one knows about. I truly stand all amazed at His love. Nothing can separate us from His love. Check out Romans 8:35-39 It is one of my favorites.  I love you guys! Have a wonderful week! Look for the miracles! They're everywhere!
mirando milagros in Santa Maria,
Elder Heath Tenney