Saturday, November 30, 2013

¡Milagros cayendo del Cielo!¡Hola Familia!

Date: November 25, 2013 at 10:33:50 AM EST
Subject: ¡Milagros cayendo del Cielo!¡Hola Familia!
Ahh. This week was so great. I really am so grateful every single day for my health, for being able to feel well and work hard. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving this week! I really am SO grateful for...everything...for life...for the priviledge of being on a mission. My whole perspective has changed SO much since coming here. I am so grateful for so many things I have taken for granted my whole life, like running water (which we have about 60% of the time haha) but still! And grateful for a good nights sleep, free from spiders and roaches. There is sooo much to be grateful for! 
Anyways, this week literally 90% of our plans fell through. It seemed like every appointment we had either wasn't there, forgot, or just didn't feel like talking to us. So initially, it was kind of frustrating, but I remembered that at the beginning of the week, I pleaded for the Lord to guide our path to find His children who need help. When I remembered this, I knew there was a purpose in all of the cancelations, and we were blessed with so many miracles, it is crazy. 
We haven't had much success with investigators as of recently, but the work with less actives has been going so well. Sometimes, we, as missionaries, put less actives kind of behind investigators in our priorities, but when we view it through the eyes of Heavenly Father, they are all His children, who He loves SO much, and they need help. 
1st of all, Jonathen. Jonathen is such a great guy. He is 18, his whole family is inactive, but he started coming with us to some teaching appointments, and last week he came to church, by himself, for the first time in years. He told us this week how much he loved it and how he could feel himself drawing closer to God. He came again this week and loved it. He even says he is thinking about a mission now! 
Then on wednesday, I ate Mcdonalds for the 1st time. It was good to eat Icecream that tasted like icecream in the United States again. 
Then we had a lesson with Hermana G. She has been inactive for years too, but she has a great testimony and wants to come back. Her son was there and he was the one who baptized her. We taught her about repentance and the joy that we can feel from it. It seemed like every other sentence we said would remind her of the feelings she once had, and she would tell us of these experiences. We invited her to say a prayer, and ask for forgiveness of her sins (generally, not specifics). She started to pray, and gave thanks for us, and began to cry as she thanked Heavenly Father for her son, who has always been there for her. She then said, "please forgive me of my disobedience. Forgive me of my shortcomings. Help me to change, so I can serve you again." The love that we felt as she prayed is indescribable. I felt so much love for her and her son, and they felt so much love for eachother. At the end of that lesson, with tears in their eyes, they knew what Heavenly Father wants them to do, and they are coming home to church.
Lastly, last night, after a couple really good lessons, we had like 30 minutes before we needed to go, we stopped by a less active member who wasn't home. Once again, all our plans had fallen through, so we were standing in the street, looking through our planners for someone else we could stop by. We couldn't think of anyone, so we thought for a minute, then we heard someone say "¿Elderes, puedo ayudarles?" We then turned and saw a woman holding her son, and we talked with her. Her name is Hermana C. She told us she has been inactive for many years, but has brothers who served missions. She initially didn't seem to have much interest, but we asked if we could share a scripture. We shared a scripture, and asked her, "what do you think God wants for you and your family?" As she thought about that, she began to cry, and said " I know what He wants. I remember the happiness from the gospel." There were several moments like that this week, and these moments are what make being a missionary a piece of Heaven. Those moments of silence, when you can just pause for a second, and feel how much Heavenly Father loves His daughter. These are the most precious moments of my life, when I truly feel like a tool in the hands of the Lord, when I simply feel that I should tell her of His love, "Hermana, Yo sé que Dios le ama muchisimo. Le ama a su familia muchisimo." --Hermana, I know God loves you so much. He loves your family so much.-
Just telling of this, or writing about it really doesn't do it justice. I could feel so powerfully how much God loves her. These are the moments I will never forget. 
This week really has changed my perspective a lot. It has helped me to remember, I am here to be a tool in the Lord's hands to help whoever He needs me to help, whether this person in a member or not. Meeting with many less actives, some of which served missions and went to the temple, also filled me with determination that I am NEVER ever going to stop living the gospel. I never want to stop helping others to feel the love of Christ, because it really is the happiest thing in the world. 
I am grateful for His love. 

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful thanksgiving and eat lots of turkey for me. Love you! 


Elder Heath Tenney

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"This is as close as you'll ever get to 'real life'"

 A side note from his email home:  So Good news on the pension (apartment/house?). Oh, Mom, we moved pensions because we are getting more elders here, so they needed 2 pensions in Benavidez.  We had the guy who is in charge of housing for the mission come to put in our oven. And he told us it is the worst he has ever seen. So good news is, this is a great place to start out, because it can't get any worse! 

His birthday is Dec. 6th.  I sent a free pouch letter through you click on send free letter by pouch, then choose Argentina, Buenos Aries North, and then write a quick note.  It arrives at his mission office, and he gets it whenever he happens to be at the mission office.  If anyone wants to respond back with an email for him, I can forward it to him.  They have limited computer time on preparation day, so he may not be able to answer back right away.

From: "Heath Tenney"  
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2013 2:14:29 PM
Subject: "This is as close as you'll ever get to 'real life'"

Hey Family! 
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. An inspired Sister in the ward gave me some antibiotic pills for my stomach and it got rid of the infection or whatever it was, so this week I was pretty much all better! It really was a miracle. I can definitely say that missionary work is much more fun and effective when you are healthy. And it was such an amazing week. Elder Holland visited the mission this week and spoke to us, President Ayre came out with Elder Hamilton and I to several teaching appointments,...It was an awesome week. 
1st of all, this week we were on our way to our investigator, Valeria's house. She is great. She is 19, from Peru. We were planning to just stop by and see how her reading was going, but I felt like we needed to do more. So we shared Moroni 10:3-5 with her and it was exactly what she needed to hear. She opened up with several concerns she had and the spirit completely guided us in our conversation to help her. Later in the week, she told us about amazing experiences she had from reading what we left with her that resolved the concerns she had. Ahh! The Book of Mormon is SO powerful. Really, all we have to do is just follow the spirit to know what each person needs to read in the Book of Mormon, and if they do it, the spirit will touch their hearts. Then when President came with us, he bore such a powerful testimony to Valeria, the spirit was so powerful. Now, she is getting baptized this next Sunday! The Book of Mormon changes hearts. It is so true.

Having President with us for one night was so great. I was amazed at the pure love he had and shared with these people he had never met in his life. I have never seen someone who could make someone else feel so loved within minutes of meeting them. He is a powerful missionary.

The meeting with Elder Holland was sooo good. It was incredible to hear from him in person. He told us his main purpose in coming half way across the world to talk with us was to tell us of his love for us. And we could feel it. In his simple but powerful words, "I love you." you could feel the love of him and the love of the Savior. I wish I could tell you everything! He told us to not think about 'real life' after the mission, he said "THIS IS IT! This is real life. This is as close as you will ever get to real life...You are an apostle during this sacred time. You do what I do. From the morning to evening, we are focussed on saving a human soul." It was so powerful and left me inspired to give my heart more and more to the Savior and be focussed on His glory. 

Yesterday, Vivianna, who was baptized last week, was confirmed a member of the Church and received the Holy Ghost. It was such an amazing thing to be a part of. I have only been here for 2 weeks, but the changes in her have been unbelievable. When I first met her, she was kind of upset because she thought I couldn't understand anything she was saying (luckily I understood her when she said that..) haha. But yesterday when we met with her, I saw the evidence of the converting power of the Spirit.1st of all, she wore a completely modest and beautiful dress to church! Then she told us when we came into her house, "Oh, Sorry Elders, these shorts are probably too short..." Then she told us how she has been teaching her children to pray and prays with them every night. She has been reading the Book of Mormon to her inactive husband and asking him every night to pray with her. And she has been rereading all the pamphlets we gave to her so she can be ready to share them with her friends. AND, during the lesson, her kids were going crazy and not being respectful to her, but she didn't yell, threaten them, or even get angry. We were just in aw. She has been transformed, in 2 weeks, she has completely changed, 2 weeks! And I ask myself, "What did we do?" and the answer is absolutely nothing. We simply went where the Lord wanted us, and the spirit did everything...EVERYTHING. It is the spirit that changed her heart and desires for modesty. It is the spirit that helped her to be patient. It is the spirit that converted her. It is soooo humbling to see these changes and feel the difference when we are around her. I truly know that this work, the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is all about Him. We can't change hearts, it is Him. I am amazed over and over again at His power.

Thank you so much again for all of your prayers. They mean the world to me and I feel them. I am loving Argentina. I am still adjusting to a lot of things, but I can definitely say there is no place else in the world I would rather be, because I know this is where the Lord wants me. I love Him and I love this work.
Have a wonderful week! I love you all! 


Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mini Liberty Jail

Mini Liberty Jail
Sent By:
"Heath Tenney"  
Nov 11/11/13 12:51 PM

His new "pension."
Nov. 11, 2013

Hey Family and Friends! 

I was pondering last night, "what in the world am I going to write to my family?" Because this week was...indescribable, to say the least. I was trying to think of a positive way to describe it, and well nothing really came. It was stretching yes, it was an opportunity for growth, but really it was one of the most miserable weeks. As I pondered this week, I remembered Liberty Jail, when Joseph Smith and others suffered for months, living in absolutely horrible conditions, away from their families. I remembered this not by any means to say I was even close to the suffering of Joseph or those conditions, but because Joseph there, through his suffering, learned lessons that changed his life forever, that have changed the lives of millions forever. To paraphrase Elder Holland ( Lessons from Liberty Jail ), Liberty Jail, the place of his suffering, became a temple to Joseph, because the Lord taught him some of the most sacred lessons through his suffering. Nobody can paraphrase Elder Holland and do it justice, but this week was a mini liberty jail for me, where the Lord gave me the opportunity to learn great things through suffering.
So on Wednesday, we got called and were told that we needed to move to a new pension, so we packed up all our bags again and calles a remisse (taxi type thing) and brought all our stuff to the new pension. I almost thought my companion was joking when we pulled up haha. This new pension is a sight. We spent most of the day spraying aerosol to kill all the spiders, ants, roaches, and other bugs that were everywhere. Then that night, I was exhausted and dehydrated, so I got my filtered water bottle, and filled it with water from our house, and as I drank, it tasted horrible and was really slimy...but we didnt have any other water, and I was so thirsty, so I kept drinking it...This was the start of my liberty experience.  
We awoke in the morning and I felt miserable, in every sense. Then we found out the water had gone out in our pension (probably a blessing). but that meant we couldnt shower there haha. So we showered at the other elders pension all week. But this 1st day was a lonnnnggg day. I was just praying the whole day, "please just help me make it to the end of this day." It really was a blessing that somehow we were able to work the whole day. Anyways, the next two days were like this. With hardly any sleep, running back and forth all night from the bathroom to my bed.
 I was suffering, not only physically, but spiritually too. Thoughts of negativity came to my mind, thoughts thinking I shouldn't be here or things like that, which just brought me down further. But I know these were from the adversary. So I was feeling horrible physically and kind of alone spiritually. I never doubted if God was here or never doubted that the Lord really does know how I am feeling, I just felt like I couldn't feel him near. I thought "I know you're here and you know what I am feeling. But why can't I feel it?" 
The next day, we did exchanges, and I went to Lopez Carmella. I was with Elder Thomas and Elder Rodriguez (missionary who Elder Engebretsen trained). Anyways, I was still feeling bad, and we were walking past this river on the way to an appointment, and there was a random hole underneath some grass, I stepped and my leg went straight through all the way, and I was beginning to fall towards the river. Elder Rodriguez quickly knelt down and wrapped his arms around me, and lifted me up, out of the hole and I didn't fall. I got up and we kept walking, I said to Elder Rodriguez, "thank you for saving me." As soon as I said those words, I felt the love of the Savior. It was like a veil was lifted. My problems didn't flee, but I knew that Heavenly Father was not distant, He never is, but when we need to feel His love, He often works through others. It reminded me of President Uchtdorf, who taught about Christ saying, "you are my hands." There are so many people who need us to be "His hands" and wrap our arms around them to lift them up and help them feel the love of Christ. 
Real quickly, one other thing I learned. I was walking (we do a lot of walking) and still feeling miserable, looking for anything I could do to do better and feel better. I was praying and the thought came to my mind, "you have to see the world through the eyes of Christ." When I realized that, my focus changed, and I looked for any way I could serve, the natural man still pulled for me to just look inward, but as I looked for opportunities to do what Christ would do, and stopped focussing on myself, I felt His atonement even more. After that it seemed like more and more came: helping a woman carry things down some stairs, saying hello and smiling to people, etc. 
Sorry this is super long and all over the place. It may seem like I am complaining a lot, I hope it doesn't, but really I am grateful. In Romans, Paul says something like "I glory in tribulation, for tribulation worketh patience." and wow, I agree. I realized this morning that just a week ago, I was praying for patience... so, careful what you pray for, because God will answer you ;) 
Really, I know that God does not leave us in our tribulations. If we always knew and felt his presence right next to us, there would be no such thing as faith. So look for opportunities to uplift others this week, to be His hands, because you never know who is in their own liberty jail. 
I love the Savior. 


Elder Heath Tenney

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

¡Aventuras in Argentina!

Sent: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:20:11 AM
Subject: ¡Aventuras in Argentina!

¡Hola Familia!
I am so exctied that I can finally type "¡" and "ñ". Estoy enamorado con Argentina. Really, I love it so much. Saying goodbye to St. Marys and Ohio was hard. But sitting on the plane, hearing the announcements in castellano, seeing the beautiful Argentine families on the plane, and attempting to talk with them just filled me with instant love and excitement. From the 1st moment I saw this cute Argentine family waiting to board, I could feel it, this is where the Lord has called me to serve. What a crazy and amazing week it has been. I wish I could tell you about everything or show you. Everything is an adventure here. 
So my 1st day here, we went with President Ayre and Sister Ayre (they are amazing) and we got a tour of Buenos Aires. We saw the temple, all the governement buildings, and famous monuments. It was a lot to take in after living in corn fields the past 8 months, but it was exciting. Then for this last week, I was with the Zone leaders until transfers (which were today). The past week I was in Villa Soldati. Oh my goodness, it is amazing. It is all villa, which is pretty much a really poor area, I guess you might call it hood in English. I wish I could send pictures, but if I would have brought my camera, I wouldn't have kept it very long haha. The people there are so humble. It all feels like a dream. It was so humbling to talk to these people who literally live in "forts" that they built from pieces of cardboard or metal in a junkyard. Everyday, walking down these dirt roads in between these buildings that are pretty much shacks built on top of eachother, it just felt like a dream. Man, I can't believe I am here haha. I couldn't stop smiling the whole week.

I really felt the enabling power of the atonement, being able to deal with the adjustments, that on my own would be sooo hard, and still are. 1st of all, the "cucharachas" or the roaches... man. I'm almost positive they were created after the fall. The apartment I was living in had a big problem with them. We walked in the 1st night, and the roaches were everywhere. Then as I was sleeping in the middle of the night, I woke up having to hit them off my face. I was thinking to myself, "why am I not extremely disgusted by this?" haha. And I have no idea, but somehow, the atonement just strengthens me to still be happy. haha. eww. 
2nd, the Spanish. The Spanish here is NOT the same Spanish I have been learning and speaking the past 8 months haha. The grammar is mostly the same, but the vocabulary is so different. Argentina has all their own words for things. I can understand almost everything, I just have to say "un pequito más despacio por favor" (A little slower please). I have accidently said some pretty funny things haha. All the natives laugh at me which is funny in kind of an awkward way because I have no idea why they're laughing, so then I just start laughing with them haha. But a member asked me "which team do you cheer for?" and I responded, "Oh yeah, I am from the United States." Then I was talking with some other missionaries and I accidently said "The sister missionaries in Ohio are really attractive" haha I promise that is NOT what I was trying to say. Man, it is fun to make all these funny mistakes though. I am improving every day though! 
Oh and then public transportation. So one day, we were running a little late to catch the train, and Elder Pintos who I was working with, pauses and listens for a second, then says "¡Ya esta!" (Its here!) then starts sprinting towards the train tracks. So we sprinted like 200 yards, then we had to jump onto the train as it was moving away, it was SO fun. man. I couldn't stop smiling. Such an adventure. Then last night, Sunday night, we were coming back from a fireside, and on the bus, I was talking to a guy on the bus and I saw one of the other elders getting off, so I got off with them. Then as I look around for my companion, Elder Young, I realize he and the other elders in my apartment are still on the bus that is quickly pulling away...uh oh. That is such a helpless feeling, seeing a bus slowly pull away that you are supposed to be on haha. So that was scary. But then luckily the other Elders who did get off at that stop helped me get back to our apartment. 
We also had a baptism this week! It was with Miriam, who I got to teach a lot last week. She is amazing. Yesterday she told us that it was the happiest day of her life. And now her daughter, who before wanted nothing to do with the church now wants to be baptized because she saw how happy her mom was! The people here are amazing. I have been absolutely amazed by so many. By a young woman, who is 13, and was baptized 5 months ago, and comes every single week on her own, with her little brother. She has such a light to her and you can tell she lives the gospel, even though her parents dont come yet. Then a boy, who is 12. He was baptized 4 moths ago, he is the deacons quorum President, and comes to church every week in his white shirt and tie by himself. They amaze me. 
Serving in Villa Soldati this week was incredible. I learned so so much from serving with Elder Young and Elder Reber. I found out last night, Elder Engebretsen is getting transferred there to where I just left! And I am in the same district that he was just in, so we switched places kind of haha. I love Elder Engebretsen.  He is such a great missionary. Everyone just loves him here.  (Mom note, Elder Engebretsen and his family lived in our ward in Philadelphia and they were good friends.  Both families moved to Utah within 6 weeks of each other.  It was exciting when they were called to the same mission, reporting the same day.)
So I am now officially in my new area. I am in a place called Benavidez. I really don't know much because I have been here 2 hours, but it seems good. I really miss Soldati already, it is crazy how much you can grow to love people in just a week. My new companion is Elder Hamilton, from Riverton, Utah. Just like my last 2 companions in Ohio haha. Everyone is from Riverton. He has been out for over a year and a half. He seems great. I  just wish he was Latino to help me with my spanish haha. It is really humbling for me to be starting over so to speak. It really is like a completely different mission here. The people, the culture, everying is just so totally different. It is humbling for sure. It is a good reminder that I am here to be a servant, to serve wherever the Lord asks. I just want to be a tool in His hands. I am loving Argentina. Everything is great here. Oh and yes, the meat is incredible. mmm.
I love the Lord. Even though everything in my mission has changed, I know that He always remains the same. I can constantly trust Him and turn to Him, which I need a lot right now. I know He lives. 
I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers! Have a great week!
Elder Heath Tenney