Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Future is Always Bright in the Lord's Work.

March 17, 2014


It is so good to hear everything is going well at home. The mission readiness conference sounds like it was amazing. That is the coolest activity ever. I'm glad Garrett is all moved in and still has his fingers. I love hearing from you all.
This week was so great, like every week. I love Soldati so so much. A lot of the members here remembered me and it is just so good to be with these people who I love so much. This ward is so amazing. It's unlike any ward I've ever been in. They have so much fire and love for the gospel and are anxious to share it. They really think the missionaries are angels. We have lunch every single day with members (all 8 missionaries always have lunch). When they come with us to lessons, they are ready to bear their testimonies, and they are so powerful. I am always left amazed at the end of the day at the faith of these members. They truly inspire me to be better and work harder.
I am loving the work. It is a challenge because Elder Puzey only has 6 weeks here (in Soldati and Argentina) so he still isnt familiar with the area. We also have 1 family of investigators, but no one else. So we had to basically start over. So we have been mapping out our area, meeting the members who live in our area, and trying to get things going. At the end of the 1st few days, we made very little progress, still had no investigators, and were super tired; but still every night I can barely get to sleep because I am so filled with love for this work and fire because I KNOW this is the work of Jesus Christ. It isn't mine. So even though we couldn't see much light, I was filled with joy because the future is always bright when we are in the work of the Lord. I know that He will do His work through us if we have the faith that He will. 
On Friday, it rained a ton. We were walking through the rain, completely soaked, cold, but ah, I was so happy. I love being happy in the freezing cold rain, partially because I think Satan gets super mad, but also because every person we pass is wondering why I am smiling and happy, so they always listen. We were walking and a man said something to us from inside this huge garage. I turned around and started to talk with him, he invited us in the garage and there were a bunch of people there working. The guy left, but said "here, talk to them." haha. They didn't seem to have much interest, but they had pity on us. We talked about who we are and what we are doing here, and then I asked these 2 women, the only 2 still listening, if they belived in Jesus Christ. Hesitantly, they both responded, "ehh...kind of...". They believed but felt they had never received His help. I gave them a pass along card of Christ, and testified of Him, of His reality, of His atonement, and most of all of His love. I told them that Christ really can help them, and He sent us here to help you know how to receive His help. The countenance of these 2 women, who at first jokingly showed interest, completely changed and they wanted to come unto Christ.  I love to testify of Christ.  It isn't just my calling, responsibility, or something I like to do. It really is my joy.  There is nothing greater. 
We spent all week working with Janet, a 10 year old daughter of a recent convert, preparing her for her baptism. The Lord completely answered our prayers and guided people to that house who are ready to receive the gospel. We met this week Deborah and Fernando, who are SO prepared. They aren't married, but when we told them it was a commandment of God, Deborah completely wanted to be married. She told us she was already baptized, and I was explaining to her about the authority, and she pauses me before I could finish, "Oh! So my pastor didn't even have that authority!" Woah. I was amazed. I am so excited for them. She gave the prayer at the baptism of Janet and everyone thought she was a member. Ah. They are amazing. 
I am so grateful to be here. I cannot even explain how grateful I am. Every night I thank Heavenly Father, almost to the point of tears, for the sacred opportunity to serve here. I love this work. I love the Lord. I know He lives and loves us so much! There is no reason to fear or doubt if we are walking with Him. 

I love you all so much! Have the greatest week ever!


Elder Heath Tenney

From Benavidez to Villa Soldati; March 11, 2014

Mar 03/11/14 11:59 AM

Hey family and friends!
This last week was a great last week in Benavidez. I'm so excited to tell you where I got transferred, but I know if I tell you now I will forget to write about everything else...

This week we talked with Mabel and reviewed everything with her. She remembered EVERYTHING! It was so wonderful because before, the first time we prepared her for baptism, she would forget after that day. But we began to teach her differenty, slower, and more simple. In her way. And it was incredible how much it stuck. So she was already for her baptism. The baptism on Saturday was so great. We planned everything really specifically and everything went great. She was even happier the 2nd time. 
Omar, sadly was not baptized on Saturday. He was super overwhelmed with everything and didnt feel he could give up smoking at this time. It was sad to see, but he knows it is what he needs to do, so one day I know I will receive a message from him telling me he was baptized.
I am trying to think of what else happened this week, but I am so tired so I cant really remember much. My time in Benavidez has been so incredible. I saw so many miracles there and so many lives that the Savior changed. A general authority who was visiting her counseled us, "Bring the investigators to the Savior, not to you." I remembered that when I was saying goodbye to Emanuel and Estela. They were sad to say goodbye, but at the same time, they were okay, because they know they can do it on their own. They are on fire spiritually. It was such a miracle to see them change throughout my time there. 
Ever since my amazing first week in Argentina, when I was in Villa Soldati, I have wanted to go back so bad. I loved it so much. So during the week, Elder Goyeneche and I were making jokes about being transferred to Soldati. haha. We had a great last family night with Familia Alania (the family where I skyped home), then we ran home and anxiously awaited the call. The xone leaders called, and said, "Elder Tenney, you are going to Villa Soldati!" I thought they were joking, so I didn't react, and I asked them, "Okay, where am I really going?" and they responded that I was really going to Villa Soldati! Ahh. I was sooo happy. and now I am soo happy and excited to be here in Villa Soldati. I am also training again, well finishing training. My new companions name is Elder Puzey. He is great. He has 6 weeks in the mission. Even in the several hours we have had together, I have been so impressed by his genuine humility. I am so excited to be with him. He is 24 and already graduated from BYU Hawaii, he was studying to take the tests to go to graduate school, but then decided to serve a mission. He is great. It is kind of weird however to be training someone who is older than Kirsten and Weston. haha.
So life is so great. I am SO excited to be in Villa Soldati. I'm sorry I don't have any cool stories to share this week, but I will surely have more next week! I love you all so much. I know that the Savior lives. If we just remember that in every moment, every moment will be a blessing. I love this work!

Elder Heath Tenney  

Monday, March 10, 2014

One More Year to Cherish

From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, March 3, 2014 11:05:42 AM

!Querido Familia! 
I am so grateful for miracles. This week was good. It was an emotional rollercoaster, like most weeks...or days...or lessons. 
Anyways, to start of the week, we were really pumped and excited to complete our goals and continue to improve. How much we have been teaching has been crazy. Then all of a sudden, in the space of 3 days, we lost almost all of our investigators. It was just a wave of Satan being a jerk. The 1st night of planning after losing everyone I was so stressed. It is one of the worst feelings to plan and have NOTHING. I was super stressed, but the next day, we read 2 nephi 4.Where Nephi completely turns all of his trust to the Lord and throws away his doubts and fears. It inspired me and I decided to just trust Him. This work is His so I have no reason to stress, I just need to let Him do His work through me. After reading that I was filled again with fire. Even though the week was still hard and we didn't have the same success as past weeks, we did the work of the Lord, and we saw miracles. 
1st of all MABEL CAME BACK! I dont know if you remember Mabel who was baptized 3 months ago, but fled to Paraguay before being confirmed? yeah, well she came back this week! We heard from her niece that she was back and we went to visit her. When we came by, she had her Book of Mormon in hand. I was so excited to see her. She still has the purest desire to follow Christ. We talked with our leaders and prayed, and she is going to be baptized (again) this Saturday and then be confirmed on Sunday! I am so excited for her. It will be strange however to have 2 baptism pictures haha. 
On Sunday, we invited Juan to come early to church to welcome people with us. He came ready, dressed in his own white shirt and tie, SO happy to be able to greet people. Everyone was much more excited to see Juan waiting for them rather than just the elders. haha It was so great. He adds so much joy to the ward.
Later, we had a lesson with Omar, who I have been teaching on and off for practically all my time in Benavidez (4 months). Several weeks ago I was thinking about Omar. We had already basically taught everything...he still wanted to meet with us, but wasnt reading the Book of Mormon, and I was really feeling like he needed something different. Every time we passed by we would teach him something or read a scripture, and it helped but I really felt there was something more he needed. As I was thinking about him, and the thought came that we needed to teach differently, with videos. We followed that and it was SO inspired. He was so focussed and eager to watch the mormon messages we began to show him and use to teach him. He started coming to church again, praying again, and even reading the Book of Mormon with his wife. On Saturday we watched with him the video of the baptism of Christ, it really touched him. Then Yesterday, he told us he wants to be baptized NOW! Omar is going to be baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday on my last day (most likely) in Benavidez. MIRACLES!!!! I couldn't stop smiling as he said the closing prayer. Ahh. Pure joy. He has to stop smoking before Wednesday, so please pray for him! 
I am doing so well. Even when there is stress or other problems, nothing takes away the deep joy that I feel from serving Jesus Christ. If we just seek the guidance of the spirit in everything, our lives and our service will overflow with miracles. We have to pray for the eyes to see them and we will!
I love this work so much. One more year has never seemed so short. I'm going to treasure it.

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


Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, March 3, 2014

Half Way to the Top

From: "Heath Tenney" g>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 10:34:18 AM
Subject: Halfway to the top

Hola Familia!
ahh, this week was so amazing. It was filled with miracles, especially the miracle of grace. 
I love teaching children. It really is one of the most humbling things. This week we had a lesson with Tobìas who is 10. He had said to his father that he no longer wanted to be baptized, so we went to talk with him. His dad talks...a lot... so my companion was listening to him, and Tobìas was sitting on the ground, covering his face. I got down on my knee and talked with him. I asked him why he didn't want to be response. "Are you a little scared to do it?" , he nodded his head. I told him that it is okay that he is scared, and he can be completely honest with us about how he feels, and he does not have to do anything he doesn't want to. He put his head up, we read together Alma 7:15, it says that we dont have to fear, just come to Christ and be baptized. "What is this saying?" I asked him, "we dont have to be scared, we just have to follow Christ." he said. "Tobìas, do you want to follow Christ?" "Yes...because it is good, it is the right thing."
"Then Tobìas, you do not have to be scared if you are following Him. Tobìas, do you want to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized?" I asked... "Yes...I want to be baptized."  It was such a sweet moment just talking with this humble child and seeing his love for Christ even though he has only learned a little about Him. Children really are the perfect examples of meekness, humility, and love.
Yesterday, we made plans with Teresa and Juan to come to church and have everything ready to be confirmed. We got to the church, sent a text message, they said they were coming. Church started, we sang a hymn, the prayer was said, the hymn before the sacrament started, and still they weren't there. But luckily jus before the sacrament started they came, so they were still confirmed. It was wonderful. Later that day we had a lesson with them and I was in aw seeing the fire they have. Teresa was asking so many questions like, "When can I go to the temple?" "What is family night?" "Where can I get this book?" and she was filled with light. Her whole countenance showed that she was filled with the spirit. It is the most joyful moment I have had in all my mission to see someone filled with that light and joy, the light that shows they are converted. It made me reflect in a question that I have pondered for much time.   
During all my time in the mission and especially in Argentina, I have wondered how can we really know when someone is converted, not just teach all the lessons and keep commitments, but really really converted, determined to be a disciple of Jesus Christ for life. Because there are converts everywhere who lacked that, and never came to church again. Is it after 3 weeks of living the gospel? 3 months?  I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how much time it takes because it wont always be the same. But the important part is that it happens, and when it happens it is so sweet. It is the most beautiful thing is the world. Just to see a person change, transform into another person. I love what the guide to the scriptures says, something like, "conversion is the conscious decision to leave behind our old life and change to become a disciple of Jesus Christ." That is the greatest miracle, conversion. I love seeing conversion.
I can't believe it has already been a year that I have been a set apart servant of Christ. I have learned so much about conversion this past year, especially in myself. Many people have told me "You are starting the downhill portion of your mission, you're at the top of the mountain." But, I try not to view it that way, because I am just starting the mountain. I am just half way to the top, and I am never going to come down from this mountain. I am never going to come down from this sacred privledge to serve Jesus Christ. I now view the scripture in Isaiah differently that says, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Those feet aren't beautiful just because of what he is doing, but because of what he is seeing and experiencing. Because he that is publishing peace is seeing miracles, he is seeing the hand of God in the lives of others, he really is seeing conversion. His feet are beautiful because he is surrounded by beauty.
I don't know if this makes sense for everyone else, maybe not. But basicially, I love Christ. I love serving Him. I'm never going to stop. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Have a wonderful week!
Elder Heath Tenney