Thursday, January 23, 2014

¡Una Tormenta de MILAGROS!

From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 11:25:55 AM
Subject: ¡Una Tormenta de MILAGROS!

¡Hola familia y amigos amados!
¡Hola familia y amigos amados!
Argentina is super hot and super humid. And super great. This week was incredible. It seems like the miracles come in waves...I think we're always receiving waves of miracles, but we don't always notice them. But this week it was a TSUNAMI of MIRACLES! It was incredible! I don't even know where to start...
We have seen miracles this week from following our mission president's counsel to "gather Israel" when we teach people. Meaning to invite everyone there to join with us, family, neighbors, random people on the street, everyone. We did that this week and it was amazing to see the miracles that came. We gathered Israel with our investigator Gustavo, and we met his wonderful Sisters, brother, and parents. We taught them all together. Teaching them made me so happy. There is something so special about teaching families, because really that is what this is all about. I was teaching them about the restoration and as I was speaking, looking them in the eyes, it was as if time stopped for a moment. I could see them each looking attentively into my eyes, almost on the edge of their chairs, together as a family, learning the glorious truth that Jesus Christ is leading His church here on the earth today. Ahh, it filled me with so much gratitude and humbled me. I almost questioned to myself, "woah, this is weird, why are they all listening and looking so attentively to me?" but they weren't listening to me, or looking to me, they were listening to the spirit and looking to the Savior, because I really wasn't doing anything. That is one of the most beautiful things in the world, families looking to the Savior together.
So many other miracles happened. We found so many new investigators to teach. We were guided to be in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time. We were walking down the street and a woman stopped us, "excuse me, you are elders aren't you?" she asked us. "Sorry to bother you, but I have been seeing you two everywhere and I told myself if I saw you again I would say something. But I lived with a family who are members of yor church and I went with them. I don't know how it works, but I want to be taught, go to church, and one day get baptized." I couldn't stop smiling afterwards because I was in shock of what just happened haha. Her name is Natalia. She came to church with her baby girl yesterday. She sat down, and at the time there were no members there, but when Hermana G came, without us even saying anything, she went and sat down next to Natalia and talked to her, helped her with the baby, and to sing the hymns. It meant so much. Members like that are miracles.
Later in the week, a little thought came to my mind to pass by a less active family we had passed by many times before, but no one was home before, we did it, and found Vanessa and her 4 sons who she wants to be baptized and serve missions! It seemed everywhere we went there was someone there just waiting to be invited, who didn't even know they were waiting.
Really, the only reason for miracles, these many children of God who felt His love, is obedience. It is not because of our talents or luck. When we are obedient, when we are just a "good boy" or "good girl" as Elder Bednar puts it, we are guided by Him, by the Savior. If we are clean and pure, we are worthy to be tools in HIS hands. And that happened this week, I cannot explain how we just happened to pass by at the exact moment when prepared people were at the houses of members, I can't explain why we went where we went, but I know that we were guided there by the Lord. This work is His work. All we have to do is just be clean and obedient, and I know that He will guide us (whether we realize we are being guided or not) and use us as tools in His hands to do good. We really do nothing, He is everything.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
 Yo sè que vive mi Señor. Èl es esta obra. Milagros son la evidencia de su mano en esta obra. En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!
Elder Heath Tenney

Friday, January 17, 2014

Never going to wait to rejoice.

Sent: Monday, January 13, 2014 2:39:49 PM
Subject: Never going to wait to rejoice!

Hey family!
It is so so good to hear from everyone. I can't believe Garrett is engaged! I am so happy for him and Jamisyn.
(Heath ran into Sister Stanford, "Jamisyn," when he was in the MTC, where she is a teacher.  She served her mission in Indianapolis a couple of years ago, and she was one of our favorites.  He told her she should message his brother, Garrett-- "He's single.")

It sounds like things have been crazy in the states. Even here everyone was asking me if my family was okay and everything. I could only say "I hope so..." haha, but I am glad to hear everyone is okay.

This week was eventful and hard and beautiful. So many things happened this week that just rocked me emotionally. It was a great week though.
One day we were walking to the church for a meeting and the sky looked awesome. I looked to the sky and said "Oh WOW!" probably about 5 times. (Most of my companions are weirded out at first by my fascination/obsession of the sky, but by the end they love it too haha) But Elder Goyeneche said, " Why are you so amazed? There have been times when the sky looks way cooler than that." I ask myself that same question a lot because I see the sky every single day. But I responded, "I don't rejoice because it is the most incredible I have ever seen, I rejoice because it is beautiful." I was remembering that last night, and that is kind of how this week was. I don't think the Savior wants us to wait to rejoice until things in our life are perfect or even what we expected to rejoice, he wants us to rejoice now, because we have so many reasons to!

This Wednesday there was a crazy storm here. It was raining almost as bad as in Ohio in the spring. But we ran through the storm and rivers that previously were roads, all the way to our lunch appointment. The streets were deserted. It was so fun. so wet.
Then later that day we passed by Omar. He told us that he wasn't going to continue going to church and meeting with us because so many trials had come into his life since first talking with us. He told us, "If this is what I have to go through to change, I don't want it right now..." I sat there silent, just waiting for the spirit to guide me what I should say...but really I just felt like I shouldnt say anything. But I couldn't get up and leave, I don't understand how he can just give up. They told my companion "Please explain to him what we just told you, he doesn't understand anything we said." I told them I understood everything. I held up the picture of the temple that I had in my hand, and told them, "this is it... this is why we are here. This is why we aren't giving up on you. So that you can go there, as a family, to be sealed together forever. This is the reason you are doing these things." There really was nothing else we could do, he had made his decision, so we said goodbye. It was so hard, but I know that he will be baptized one day. I know it.
Later in the week, we passed by a recent convert that is struggling. I remember just a month ago when she told us, "I won't be able to go to church tomorrow." And I begged her to go. Because it always starts with one Sunday. Now, a month later, she hasn't been to church since and has fallen into old habits and friends. She really just isn't happy anymore. It was one of the most painful things in my life to see. Satan can destroy a life so fast. He always starts with "just one".
We had an amazing week with Estela. This week she prayed for one of the 1st times in her life (that wasn't a memorized prayer). She bowed her head at the end of  our lesson, and offered a simple, heartfelt prayer. At the end of the prayer, she lifted her head, with tears rolling down here cheeks. "I don't know why I am feeling emotional." She said. "how do you feel?" we asked her. " I feel...peace. I feel good." she said. We testified that we know God heard her prayer. Hearing someone pray for the 1st time is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Feeling that spirit, I can never forget the power of sincere prayer.
Lastly in church this last Sunday! We really don't have many investigators right now, but the work with less actives has been amazing. We had 15 or 16 members who haven't been to church in years who came to church this week. I was thinking for a second at church, "Man, we only have one investigator here." But then I realized all the people who came, who took the sacrament for the 1st time in years, who felt the spirit of the church, and are changing their lives again. It filled me with joy. How incredible is that! No, that is not what I was dreaming for, it is not what some consider to be "success", but that is so so beautiful. So I will rejoice.
I am so grateful for these times of beauty when I can look at all that is happening and say "Oh wow!", because there really is so much to rejoice about. I never want to wait to rejoice, because waiting is really choosing to never rejoice at all.
I know that Christ lives and that this is His work. Every day I am filled with enthusiasm to go and work because I know whose work this is. It is such an incredible privledge to be here. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you all!
Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, January 6, 2014

Aprendiendo Confianza - Learning Confidence

 "Heath Tenney"
Sent: Monday, December 30, 2013 11:16:14 AM
Subject: Aprendiendo Confianza  - Learning Confidence

Hey Family! 
It was so so good to talk to you all and see everyone on skype this last week. I almost forgot how much I love you all. It definitely made my Christmas. 
Christmas was so good. Garrett told me last week how Christmas on his mission was one of the best, and I definitely agree. It was so good to literally only focus on the Savior and how much I love Him. Even though no one plays Christmas music here or decorates or anything, I always had a christmas hymn in my head and was thinking of the Savior, and that made it so good. Also the delicious meat we ate helped a little bit too. ;) 
This week I was studying "confidence" in my personal study. Confidence in Spanish, is "confianza". And "confianza" also means trust. As I looked through the scriptures, all of the verses that say "confianza" were talking about trusting in the Lord. At first I glanced over them thinking that is not what I was looking for, but I later realized that it was exactly what I was looking for. To truly have confidence doesn't come from our talents or experience. It doesn't come from how much Spanish we know, nor from how much success we have had. Personal confidence comes from trusting in the Lord, because we have every reason to trust in Him. And when we do, we don't have to worry about our weaknesses or what others say, because we can know that He will not ever fail us. Confidence is to trust in Him, not ourselves, and not what others say. 
That being said, there is a difference between to know it in your head and to have it inscribed in your heart from living it. So I am still working on the living it part. But this week I made progress. 
This week was kind of crazy with all the parties and everything. Here, sadly, they dont really say "merry Christmas!" or things like that, they say "Feliz fiesta" because really it is a time with huge parties. So it was hard to find our investigators this week, the Lord guided us to a lot of new people to teach which was great. I really wanted to trust in the Lord more and be guided by Him, and it was amazing to see His hand. One day we had like 40 minutes left before we had to go home, all our appointments fell through, so we decided to stop by a less active member, as we walked I was praying for guidance, and when we got to the street to turn, I felt like we should just keep going. So we did. We walked for like 5 blocks, and there was nobody outside, and I was thinking, "okay...why did I feel like we should keep walking?" haha. But we kept going, and after about 3 more blocks, BOOM! A person! I told my companion,"he's the one!", basically because I was excited to finally see a person. We went and talked with this man named Frederico, and we began to teach him in the street. We only had a few minutes, but he said we could come back and he wants to come to church! It was a Christmas miracle.

Lastly, we had a lesson yesterday with Omar and Rocio, they really want to change their lives, they are just so busy that they don't have time to read or go to church. Anyways, we dropped by after church because they didn't come. I was filled with sorrow for them because there are so many blessings just waiting for them. But anyways, as we talked, I asked a question about something, but and someone said, "Wow, he doesn't understand anything that we are saying!" In that moment, I just instantly became...upset. I was just so tired of hearing things like that when I am trying so hard. I almost got up and left, not because I was upset with them, but I was just upset in general, and somehow the natural man in me thought it would help to leave. I felt this strong desire to just leave, I was so tired and stressed, but the deep love I have for them kept me in my chair. I knew that if we left, we would be depriving them of a chance to feel the Savior's love, and to grow. And that would be the most selfish thing I could do. So I stopped being selfish and we taught them, we read Alma 5 together. I just had to trust that the Lord would teach them somehow. Even though I wasn't feeling the best, I trusted in the Lord and I stayed, and He was able to touch their hearts. 
Sometimes during the day those types of natural man thoughts come, trying to make me think my confidence comes from me, but the spirit never stays when I begin to think that. Because I know that doesn't come from me. As disciples of Christ, we don't focus on ourselves, because Christ never did, we just have to focus on Him, and that is where true confidence comes, from trusting in Him and His grace. 
I know His grace is sufficient. It is real and powerful. 
I am so grateful to be here. It isn't easy and there is so much I need to learn, but there is so much joy in serving the Lord if we just ask to be able to feel it. 
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 


Elder Heath Tenney