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

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