Sunday, December 29, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

Dec 12/23/13 1:07 PM

¡Hola Familia! ¡Feliz Navidad!
I don't have much time to write today, or honestly, much to write about as well. haha. It was a good week, we are just going through a phase of dropping a lot of investigators that aren't progressing and trying to find new ones. 
This was a week that was filled with hard things. Mabel, our baptism from last week, told us she wouldnt be coming to church this week to be confirmed because she has to go to Paraguay. So that was really disappointing. We are hoping she comes back soon so we can confirm her a member. 
One of the highlights of the week was meeting with our ward mission leader, Hermano C. He is amazing. He works 6 sometimes 7 days a week, from 7AM to really late. He barely has time to sleep. This last saturday night/sunday morning, he got home at 3 AM, had to wash his cloths for church, slept a few hours, then came to church and stayed after for the meeting. He told us that he doesn't have time during the week to come with us, but that every Sunday he is going to come with us for 2 hours. He bore his testimony to us how he knew the Lord would not give him a calling he could not do, and he knows that there are people whom he can bless in this calling. Woah. He really is such an incredible example of faith. 

Really, this week and this time is kind of overwhelming because we have nothing right now. Our investigators are kind of at a block, not progressing. We have literally no active male members who live in our area who could go with us to teaching appointments. Still trying to earn the trust of members and overcome the language barrier. It is kind of hard, but I am filled with an overwhelming hope. Because I know that this is not my work, this is the work of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Even though I dont know where to start or where to go, He does, and I know if I am obedient, he will guide us. There is really nothing to worry about when we are in the Lord's service, because if we just do our best, the grace of Jesus Christ will strengthen us, guide our path, and lead us to success. I am so grateful for the hope that comes from Jesus Christ. I know that He really lives and is a real part of this work.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful week! 


Elder Heath Tenney

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Más Cristo

From: "Heath Tenney"  
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:53:22 PM
Subject: Más Cristo

This week was a great last week of the transfer. We worked really hard and it has been super hot so it felt like we worked hard as well. 
Since it has been super hot, like 37° C, no one has been outside. It is also super humid which makes it feel worst. It is weird because there was literally no one outside haha. 
Elder Hamilton got transferred. My new companion is Elder Goyeneche. He is from Argentina, from the south! I am so excited to have a native companion. It will help my Castellano so much. He has been out 4 months. I will miss Elder Hamilton, he is great. I am excited for a fresh start. 
This week we worked really hard to teach Mabel and get her ready for her baptism on Sunday. Mabel is from Paraguay, and she doesn't speak Castellano very well...well...we're not really sure if thats the problem, she may just be a little slow, because the members in the ward who speak Guaraneit, couldn't talk to her either haha. Anyways, it was really fun to teach her this week because it is so much different than any other person I have ever taught. I wanted to be sure she understood what she was committing to do by being baptized, and not just doing it because we invited her to. We used a lot of visual things to try and help her and we had a notebook to draw things and write it out. It was fun. It filled me with so much joy towards the end of the week to hear her tell us what a covenant is and why she wants to be baptized. It was a challenge to teach her, but I am so happy we were able to do it! She was baptized on Sunday! It was kind of a crazy day, first the font overfilled and was flooding the church haha. Then Mabel fainted...Then she was scared of the water. But it all turned out great and she was so happy. 

We also had the ward Christmas activity this week which was so good. It is one of the best feelings to see less active members or investigators we have been working with come to activities. The highlight of the night for me was the nativity. The primary asked us to act as pastors (shephards) in the nativity with the primary kids. It was so good. When the angel came to us (6 year old boy dressed up like an angel), and told us, "Don't fear, I bring you good tidings of great joy. A Savior has been born, Jesus Christ." (sorry for the rough translation). Seeing this cute kid, saying with a smile on his face, "The Savior, Jesus Christ has been born" was so powerful. It made me remember the real reason for Christmas. It is the time to remember and worship Christ. I realized this week that Christmas, in english, is like Christ mas, which means More Christ, in Spanish. And that is it. We need more Christ. It is ALL about Him. Sometimes, it is easy to be sad due to the things we may not have on Christmas, but Christmas is all about what we do have, and will always have, CHRIST. I know that the angel really came to the shepherds, that Christ really was born of Mary, and that He really did live and lives today. All we need to be happy is more Christ. 
I am so blessed to be here with these special people serving Jesus Christ. There is nothing else I would rather be doing this year on Christmas. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for all you do and your prayers!

Con Amor, 

Elder Heath Tenney

Sunday, December 15, 2013

El Valor de Una Alma

From: Heath Tenney
Sent: Monday, December 9, 2013 11:31 AM
Subject: El Valor de Una Alma

¡Hola Familia!
I can't believe it is already Monday again. It terrifies me how fast time is passing. This week was great. So many amazing things happened. 
1st of all, my birthday was great. The best gift of all was the day before when we had so much success. All of our appointments worked out, and we had a member who was with us who is preparing for her mission and she brought the spirit so much. Members are everything to this work. Ah. It was such a good day. Then on my actual birthday we went to a parilla libre, which is pretty much all you can eat meat. Initially it seemed like a really great idea... but after my thoughts changed. haha. I ate so many weird meats. Here it is normal to eat all these strange parts, but I told myself I would try a little of everything. I won't grose you out with the details... but wow, I ate some strange things. But some of it was really good and somewhat normal. The members here are so so kind. Everyone wished me a happy birthday and some called and sang (or attempted to sing) happy birthday in English. Then one wonderful hermana made me a cake that had my name...sort of... So "Tenney" would be pronouned "Tay-Nay" here, so I always tell people "Tennis" with out the S. Haha. But most of the people just end up calling me"Elder Tennis"which is great too. So the cake said "Elder Tennis". Ah, I love these people so much.

So the miracles of the week. Well, a few. Last night, Our landlord knocked on our door (we learned she is a less active member) but she gave us a pie, and then told us, "I have a favor to ask. My son wants to make a deal with me if he gets good grades, and his rewards that he wants are these: 1, he wants to go with you two to church every week. and 2, he wants to go with you to teach people. hahaha. It was like a dream, PIE and a new investigator knocking on our door. And the pie was delicious. 
This week we also met with Omar more. His schedule is crazy, he gets back from work at 7 in the morning, then sleeps (sometimes, or goes to another job on some days). He had told us he wasn't going to go to stake conference because it was far away and he didn't have time. I really didn't feel this huge desire to pressure him to come, because really it is asking so much of him to sacrifice. But as he told us the financial problems his family has and other problems, the spirit prompted us to invite him again. We read the scripture that talks about seeking first the kingdom of God, and we promised him that miracles would happen in his life if he puts God first. After several seconds of thinking, he looked up and said "I need to go...". We pulled out a piece of paper and made a contract with him, where he committed to come. It was so amazing to see the spirit work on him. 
Then Sunday came, all the members were to meet at the church at 830 to go together in a bus to stake conference. We passed by an hour before to verify that everything was still good, and he was getting ready. We got to the church at 8:30 and him and his family were not there. The bus was full of members, it was 90 degrees, with no air conditioning, but everyone waited for him. No one said one word of complaint. 10 minutes passed...still not there...7 more... and we told them, we should probably just go now. So we headed off, and right as we were pulling away, they pulled up to the church. So Hermano G ran to the front of the bus and told the driver to turn around, we had to go around the block to turn around, and we were hopign they wouldn't leave before we got back. We pulled up, and Elder Hamilton and I were at the back of the bus, but I could only see Hermano G, in his suit sprinting down the road to stop their car, and he did. I almost started to cry just seeing that. He doesn't even know this investigator yet, but he turned the whole bus around, sprinted down the road to catch him, and everyone on the bus waited in the 90 degree bus for one family... one. They got on, and we left. With a few more adventures later on, he enjoyed the conference. I know the Lord will bless them. 
That image just sticks to my mind... seeing a man sprinting down the road in his suit, in 90 degree weather, so that a man who he doesn't even know can go to church. That is the work of salvation. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ coming alive. I know it doesn't seem like much, but it means so much to me. It made me think about what the worth of a soul is to Heavenly Father. Is a soul worth a bus full of people sweating for 20 minutes waiting? Is it worth a man sprinting down the road and sweating in his suit? Is it worth getting up in the middle of stake conference to go get our investigator that left? It is worth so much more. The scripture that says, "remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." That scripture means so much more to me now, because great is such an understatement. 
I am so grateful for the souls that Heavenly Father trusts me to teach and to serve. I don't understand how great the worth of a soul is, but I pray I can feel it one day. I just know that whatever sacrifice we have to make, whatever fear we have to conquer, or whatever obstacle we have to overcome to help and save a soul is worth is. so worth it. There is no such thing as a sacrifice that isn't worth it when we are sacrificing for the good of others, even the good of ONE. 
I love this work so much. I love seeing it come alive within the members. They inspire me. 
I wish I could tell you about all the miracles of this week, but I don't have time once again. So go and live your own miracles of helping souls this week! 

I love you all so much! Have a great week!


Elder Heath Tenney

Friday, December 6, 2013

Vamos al castillo del Senor"

Today is Heath's 19th birthday!  Sorry I'm slow in forwarding this week's letter.  If anyone would like to respond with a short bday greeting, I will forward them along to him.  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.  If you'd like his address for a Christmas card, it's:
Elder Heath Tenney 
General Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires,  Argentina

It's $1.10 for an intl. stamp.  

From: "Heath Tenney"

Sent: Monday, December 2, 2013 11:02:42 AM
Subject: "Vamos al castillo del Señor"

¡Hola Familia! 

It is so good to hear that Thanksgiving and everything went well. I loved the picture that Courtney sent. Everyone looks really good and happy. It made me so happy just seeing you all together and happy. 
Thank you also so much for all the kind notes for my birthday. You all are so kind.
My time in Argentina so far has been the most enriching, stretching, memorable time of my life. At the end of the day, I feel so overwhelmed with blessings. And those are only the ones I see and remember. My whole life right now can be summed up with one word: BLESSINGS. I really am not the most gifted person in missionary work, but I am doing my best, and the blessings just keep coming. And I'm learning that blessings, or God's hand in our lives, are the way this work really gets done, so we just have to do our best, then His hand will come. It always will come. 
Update on the pension! This week our shower broke for good, but we really didn't have the time to go all the way over to the other Elders' pension to shower, so this week I got to shower with bottles of water everyday! Luckily we had water in the kitchen, so we filled up bottles of water, then brought them to the bathroom. The 1st day, all I could do was smile the whole time, because it felt like I was in a movie or something haha. 
Okay, this week. I met for the first time the familia F.  Hermana F kindly invited us to come back later, and we did. The moment we walked into the house, we could feel... not darkness, but just an absense of hope. No one really seemed that happy. After talking with them for several minutes, we learned that their son died several years ago, they stopped coming to church, and now were starting to question if there is a God. We only had several minutes before we had to return home. Looking into their eyes and feeling the sadness they had made me feel inadequate. I had no idea what to I turned to the answer for almost everything: The Book of Mormon. We opened to Alma 40, and read with them what it says about where their son/brother is, he is in peace, in paradise. We read that, and told them as fervently as I could, "I know this is true." We told them that they can know and feel that this is true for themselves, if they only ask. There was so much love in the room. I know they could feel the love of Heavenly Father, and our love for them. After sharing the scripture, Hermana F. and her daughter began to cry. I don't remember all they said but, she said, "That is true. I know that is true." The feeling in the house changed completely. The Book of Mormon is so so powerful. It is one of the reasons God can send the weak to do His work. He knows we are nothing, so He gave us the Book of Mormon. 
Luego, we had a lesson with Hermana C (she is the less active sister who we miraculously found last week). We met her husband Omar, who isn't a member. We had such a great lesson with them and Omar knew that this is what he has been waiting for. He shed tears of joy at the end of the 1st lesson, he could just feel it. I wish I had time to tell you the details of everything that happened. He really is just stressed and tired, he needs more in his life. He needs to make time for God. For the 1st time in a long time, he felt God's love. We left him with the restoration DVD to watch and he watched it 3 times! Ahh! He accepted a baptismal date, but doesn't want to rush it, so not sure about that for now. On Saturday, he was thinking that he wasn't going to go to church, because he would feel uncomfortable, he finishes work at 7 AM and would be really tired...and other reasons. But he was driving past the church with his family, and his 3 year old daughter, Luna, who has never been to the church yells "¡Papa! ¡Mira, un castillo! Un Castillo, Papa! ¿Por favor podemos ir al castillo?" - Daddy! Look! A castle! A castle, daddy! Can we please go to the castle?"
He had to be feeling it then, and said to his daughter, "Yes. We can go to the castle. We are going there tomorrow."
What? Ahhh! I couldn't stop smiling when I heard that. Seriously, what a miracle. And he loved church and met with Bishop. Luna was sad she couldn't stay for longer. So amazing.
We really are seeing so many miracles here. In every lesson it seems someone is crying because they feel the love that Christ has for them. It is such a priviledge and blessing to be here, even though it is so hard. 
My thanksgiving was great. I feasted on some bread with strawberry jam. 
There are things to be grateful for in every place in the world. 

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 


Elder Heath Tenney