Sent: Monday, January 13, 2014 2:39:49 PM
Subject: Never going to wait to rejoice!
It is so so good to hear from everyone. I can't believe Garrett is engaged! I am so happy for him and Jamisyn.
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