Monday, October 21, 2013

The Miracle of a Broken Heart

October 21, 2013 

Hey family!
My heart is so overwhelmed with so many different emotions. President Vellinga called us this morning and told Elder Gorringe and I that we both received our Visas. We will be leaving on Monday afternoon. The 1st thing to hit me was shock. I really have just fallen in love with Ohio, and I am lost in the work here. My heart forgot that I am called to serve in Argentina. I have never felt such love for any people whom I barely know. It is so hard to think of saying goodbye. But, oh the miracles I have seen here. I will forever be grateful to Heavenly Father for the sacred opportunity to serve my heart out in Ohio.
I said last week, "I am excited to tell you about all the miracles that we will see this week!". And I am even more excited now to tell you of what great things the Lord has done in St. Marys this week. I memorized in Spanish 2 Nephi 23:27 (or maybe 27:23)... it says..."Soy un Dios de Milagros y manifestare a los hijos de los hombres que soy el mismo ayer, hoy, y para siempre."
- I AM A GOD OF MIRACLES, and I will show unto the children of men that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know that this is true. I know it.
Last week, we were driving around this small town looking for 1 of the 2 restaurants in the town, and we couldn't find it. I remembered President Vellinga saying something earlier in the month about talking to more people, he said we should turn off the GPS and just ask people for directions. So we did that. We drove by these people unloading a storage garage, so I stopped and asked them for directions. They told us where it was, and I kept talking with them. They told me they had just moved here from California. I asked them if they needed any help and the kind woman said she would love help, because she was going to have to do it all by herself. So later in the week, on Saturday, we went and helped her move, in the rain (it was cold haha, but so fun). And it was great. She told us afterwards, she had been praying for help, she said, "God, I don't know how I am going to do this. Please just help me to move this stuff. Then minutes later, we pulled up next to her, offering to help. Miracle. She and her son are so prepared. Her son especially was really interested when we told him the incredible story of the restoration. And to make it even greater, we drove past the place where we were looking for a restaurant the other day, and saw this big sign with the name of the restaurant and an arrow pointing down the road to it. We were meant to not see that sign...
It is hard typing this, because words on paper really cannot capture the excitement in my heart as I tell you of the amazing things the Lord has done. I wish I could look each one of you in the eyes, and testify to you, "miracles. are. real." I am so overcome with joy and gratitude for them. I wish I could tell you about each one of them. I know that if we pray for miracles and pray for the eyes to see them, then God will show you that He truly is the same as when he parted the red seas. There is no such thing as a small miracle.
7 Months ago, when I got off a plane, filled with missionaries, in Cleveland, I thought, "I won't be here very long. This is just a stop." I listened to missionaries speak and heard the mission song, and it never really sank in. My mind and heart were set on Argentina. I never would have thought I would be heartbroken to leave Ohio...but here I am, 7 months later, having to fight the tears thinking about leaving. I have seen miracles in this sacred place. I don't mean tiny things some people may not think are miracles, I mean MIRACLES. I have seen Heaven touching earth and hearts changed. I have seen my own heart change. One of the greatest miracles of all, is the miracle of my broken heart, because it means so much more than goodbye. It is the evidence of transformation.
I pray that nobody who reads this will ever doubt that miracles are real. All you have to do is look for them. Look, and you will see God's hand and you can know, as I do that He never changes. He is here today performing miracles in your life every single day.
I testify that He lives. I know that Jesus Christ is His son, and His atonement is the miracle through which we are transformed. Nothing can take this away from me. I will never deny it. I know He lives and His hand is in our lives because He loves us. Joseph Smith saw them both, I know it. I am sad to leave this sacred place, but I do not fear because I know He is a God of miracles and they will always be there if I just look. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, October 14, 2013

They could not bear that any human soul should perish

1810 Winston Dr.
St. Marys, OH 45885

From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:49:55 AM
Subject: "They could not bear that any human soul should perish"

I hope everyone is doing well!
So here is my week:
We had a great lesson with Dustin. We decided beforehand we were going to give him some time to act on his faith for his own, but he came to Priesthood pretty much on his own, so we thought he might be ready to act. He told us that he knew it was time. He said he was feeling lonely and sad, and prayed saying, "God, I just need a friend. I need your help." Then moments later, we texted him inviting him to conference and saying "we hope you are doing well!" So he knew that was a sign from God. We had a powerful lesson with him that was so guided by the spirit. We watched part of President Uchtdorf's talk, and read with him about Nephi. He is scared to change his churches, he doesn't know what will happen, but he knows he needs to. So we invited him to act on his faith and trust God like Nephi did, and come to church. We then knelt down with him and invited him to pray to ask the Lord when He wants Dustin to be baptized. The spirit was so strong, and after praying he decided on Nov. 16th. It is the most incredible feeling knowing that you were a tool in the hands of the Lord saying what He wants you to say, doing what He wants you to do.
We also had several great lessons with Joey. We watched the Restoration DVD with him and he seemed to love it. The spirit was there and it hit him. After the video ended, I testified with my heart, as powerfully as I could, that this was true. That Joseph Smith truly was God's chosen prophet and THAT is why it is so important that you read the Book of Mormon, because that is how you can know for yourself. Our next lesson, it was just Joey, no one else from his family was there, and it was so powerful. I don't remember what all I said, but we were bold and loving with him. He said he is scared to go to church because of what his family will say, and I asked him, "Joey, do you think God wants you to go to church?" ".........yeah....probably so." he replied. "Then what else really matters?" I said.
We read earlier that day in Mosiah 28:3 how the sons of Mosiah could not bear the thought of any soul suffering endless torment, the very thought caused them to quake. They loved the people SO much. And I prayed, telling Heavenly Father, "I want that kind of love. Please help me to have that." I definitely don't have it perfectly and for all souls, but in that lesson, I felt it for Joey. I really have never felt such an overwhelming love and desire for someone's happiness. I love Joey SO much. In lessons, when I am praying in my heart for him to feel the spirit, I almost get tired, because it feels like I am just pouring out my soul for him. I want this SO much for him. So please pray for Joey.

We had an amazing Zone training meeting this week which was great. I was blessed to be able to go on exchanges with Elder Bullock this week! He is such a powerful missionary. At the end of the day, we were talking to each other in excitement about what an incredible time this is and how true this great work really is, and in our simple conversation the spirit was there so strong. He paused, looked at me, and said, "Is it okay if we bear our testimonies to each other right now? The spirit is just so strong." So we bore our testimonies to each other. It was a moment I will never forget. It made me even more grateful for the sacred opportunity to be a servant of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, no one came to church again this week. It was really disappointing, but I can honestly say I am not disappointed in myself. We have done all we can, prayed as fervently as we can, sought Heaven's guidance, so now we can only invite and pray. So I have great reason to rejoice. I really feel so much love for every single person I meet here, and it fills my soul with gratitude and joy.
I am so grateful for all the many blessings Heavenly Father has blessed us with this week. I am so excited to tell you all about the miracles we will see this week! I love you! Have a great week!
"Service is the very fiber of which Celestial beings are made of." - President Vellinga
Elder Heath Tenney

Be not ye the servants of men.

 Hey everyone!
General Conference was SOOO good! Ahh. I just want to listen to it over and over again. If any of you didn't get to watch any of the sessions, you should go watch it! It was so amazing and so evident in the feelings I felt as I listened to these inspired men and women that this is Christ's church. Listening to them and feeling the power made everything so real. The restoration is more real to me, Living prophets are more real to me, Christ is more real to me! It was so amazing.
This week was empowering. With General Conference as the exclamation point. Goodness, I love the gospel so much.
1st of all, on Wednesday, we did some service with Brother Y., our wonderful branch mission leader. We did that most of the day, then came back to go find and teach in the evening. As I was waiting for Elder Gorringe, I realized I didn't have the fire and excitement I should as we were about to go out. So I opened my scriptures randomly to 1 Corinthians 7:21-24. It talks about being a servant of Christ. My favorite part is verse 23: "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." That gave me the fire and excitement I needed. We were bought with a price, we were saved by Christ, by His suffering, so we should never serve men, but Christ! It was definitely what I needed. The scriptures are so powerful.
That night, we tracted for several hours, and on the very last house, we met Brother B! ( it is always the last house...always) He was a member for many years, but stopped coming after a divorce. He has a testimony and such a good heart. We shared a short message with him and said a prayer with him. It felt like Heavenly Father was guiding us there, saying, "go and find my lost son." In Preach My Gospel, it talks about how when we do all we can to be guided by the spirit in planning and finding, then the Lord will guide us and others to be able to find His children. It is so true.
We had an intense and powerful lesson with Georgia this week. We knocked on her door, walked in, and she was in more pain than usual. It hurt me to see how much suffering she was in. Still, she invited us to sit, and said she has some things to tell us. "Well, my priest came by to visit me this week..." She began. Sadly, usually that is not a great sign, so I anxiously anticipated what he had said. "He gave you all so much praise for what you are doing and what you have done for me. You have brought me back to the Lord. He told me that God works in mysterious ways, and he has used you to help bring me back to him." She went on to tell us how she had seen her bible next to her bed, and realized she needs to read that more. He priest told her she should get into the word with that more and invited her to come to their bible studies at church again. She readily accepted, as she finished telling us this, she said, "So, I am going to give you back your book tonight. And I appreciate all you have done for me." Pause. These are the moments, when I know I am absolutely nothing. There was nothing I could do or say to convince her to change, nor did I have any idea what to say. So I turned to Heaven. After several seconds of silence, I asked if we could share one more scripture with her before we left. We turned to 2 Nephi 33 and read with her:
 "...if ye believe not these words, believe in Christ. And if ye believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good."
"And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye-- for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness."
After we read that, there was silence, and the spirit guided us so much. I testified to her, with all I could, pulling from the depths of my spirit, "Georgia, I know that these are the words of Christ. They are his words." The spirit guided us from one inspired question to the next. We left her to read about the story of Alma and Alma the younger, because she is struggling with one of her unbelieving children, she was very grateful and agreed to keep the Book of Mormon.
In that 1st moment, I felt like nothing and I knew I was nothing. How could it be that this woman who had so many great personal experiences with the Book of Mormon could be giving it back to us? But it is in these moments, when we know we are nothing, when the Lord can use us His best.
I don't have much more time, but real quick. We had John come to the Saturday morning session of conference which was so great! I was so glad he heard President Uchtdorf's talk. That was so powerful. Then a few other people we are working with came on Sunday morning, and they heard Elder Oaks powerful and bold talk on the law of chastity, which was definitely inspired. It was amazing to see God speaking to each person individually. As I sat there in the 1st session, hearing the choir sing, "Come to Zion! Come to Zion!" I felt the spirit so strongly. I wanted to yell to John! Come! Come to Zion! Because it is real. I know that this is Zion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints IS the church of Jesus Christ himself here on the earth. Thomas S. Monson is His prophet! And Christ lives! He is so much more real and involved in His work than we know. I love this work and I love the Savior! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Elder Heath Tenney
Pictures of Midwest skies that I am obsessed with!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

General Conference this weekend!



I don't have a ton to write about this week. It was kind of a crazy week. We had a new Senior couple come in this week, the Jensons. They are from Blackfoot, Idaho. So Tuesday we went to Lima for District meeting, Wednesday we moved in new furniture and appliances to the Jenson's apartment; Thursday, we went over and cleaned their apartment and got it all ready for them to come. President Vellinga called us and told us to give them the red carpet treatment. So we made a sticky note welcome sign (Out of several sticky notes, not just one haha), made taco soup for them to have a home cooked meal, then we showed them around St. Marys when they got here.
The branch is so excited to have them! They have already been such a blessing to us and their testimonies are so great. I really understand why Elder Holland said about Senior couples, "they bring a spirit of maturity that no number of 19 year olds can bring, no matter how good they are." It is SO true they add so much to the work. We love them and are grateful to have them!

The highlight of the week for me was a lesson we had with Brother F. He is an amazing man who hasn't come to church in a while. He really has such a great heart and testimony. He has a daughter who he hasn't really taught a lot about the gospel, but we had a lesson with them about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so touching to hear Brother F remember and retell the story of his conversion. He bore his testimony of Joseph Smith, and as we talked you could feel and see the spirit working within him. He lit up. And he remembered what he already knows. Hearing him bear testimony and sweetly explain things to his daughter was amazing. The best part was at the end, when we all knelt together, and he helped his daughter, for the first time in a long time, to pray. Brother F usually can seem a little rough on the outside and intimidating, but as he taught his daughter to pray, he seemed like a different person. You could feel how much he loved his daughter and how much he loved the Lord.

Lastly, we had a great dinner last night with Jim and Joyce. They are so great. Jim has been agnostic since he was 15 and Joyce has been protestant most of her life. They invited us over for dinner, so we came and helped make it and then had a great meal with them. At dinner, I was pleading for the Lord to help me ask inspired questions to help Jim open up, because from our other visits, he kind of told us he didn't think the Book of Mormon was for him. As we ate, I simply asked him what he was looking for, and he explained how he wasn't exactly sure, but just for the truth. It was amazing to have him open up by simple questions. We told him about General Conference, how he could hear from a prophet of God, and he and Joyce were excited to watch it with a question in mind!

I also found out yesterday, that all Argentina Visa waiters need to re-do their FBI clearance. So it sounds like the process will start all over again... So who knows how long I will be in Ohio? haha. When I initially heard this, for the 1st time, I felt kind of disappointed the it would now take even longer. After thinking about it though, this is an amazing thing. The Lord has great things planned for me to do in Ohio! So I have many reasons to be grateful! And I love it here! If the Lord wanted a Visa, he could get a Visa. So I will do His will in Ohio.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week and an amazing time watching General Conference! Ah! I am so excited!
Elder Heath Tenney