Monday, February 9, 2015

The Hardest Part -- February 7, 2015: Elder Tenney's final letter from Argentina


This was the fastest week of my entire life. Really, It passed by SO fast. I feel like it was yesterday that I was writing to you guys. What an amazing last week it was. 

1st of all, a couple of miracles from the week. 

- Blanca's baptism. Last Sunday, Blanca was baptized. It was such an amazing day. She was so excited for her baptism and SO prepared. I think in total, we only taught her 5 times. That is it. We literally only sat down with her 4 or 5 times, because she is only in her home on some Saturdays and Sundays. So we taught her about the Book of Mormon and just prayed and prayed that she would read it everyday, and she did. And the Lord fulfilled His promise that she would draw nearer to Christ by reading it. We really did not do anything, the Book of Mormon did it all. And her baptismal service was so reverent and special. She even shared her testimony in her baptism. It was a beautiful last baptism in Argentina.

Baptism of Blanca

I am going to miss this city so much. 

Life in the jungle.

I really wanted to finish this last week strong and find people who would be baptized even if I wouldn't be there for the baptism. I was praying and fasting for that miracle. On Thursday, we were waiting on a corner for a member who was going to go with us to do some visits. Then a different member passed by and tells us excitingly, "Elders! How amazing that I found you guys! I lost your number, but I just stopped by my friend's house and she needs you guys to visit her." So she gave us the address and we went straight there. We then met one of the most incredible families. The mother's name is Alejandra. She has 2 kids, Pablo (12)  and Sol (16). We taught them about the restoration and they were so in tune. I wish I could tell you all about them, but it is enough to say, they are so prepared. They committed to be baptized. The Lord is so incredible. It humbles me so much how His mighty hand puts every person in exactly the right place at the right time. 

This whole week, I knew it was my last week, and I was working harder and smarter than ever, but it still didn't feel real. It still didn't register in my mind, "I am actually leaving next week." Which was kind of frustrating.  

Then last night, it was towards the end of proselyting, and we were sharing a scripture with Valeria, a member who recently starting going to church again and has just caught fire. She has taken us to at least 10 of her friends houses to share the gospel with them (another one of the Lord's many miracles). Anyways, we were sharing a scripture with her, and my heart was filled with amazement and gratitude for these incredible people who have so much faith. As my companion was finishing up the lesson, Delfy, Valeria's 5 year old daughter, touched my hand to get my attention, I bent down to listen to her. She had a serious face, and was anxious to tell me something. In the most sincere tone, she said, "por favor pueden quedarse a comer con nosotros? Por favor???"--- "Elder...can you please stay to eat with us? pleaseee?"--- My heart was filled with infinite love for this little girl and for her mom, and really for every precious soul I have met here. It was already late, so we couldn't stay. I wanted so badly to be able to say yes, but with tears coming to my eyes, I told her, "I wish we could, but we can't. We already have to go home." And BOOM. It hit me. It all felt real. I am really about to leave these people I love more than I can express. I felt the heartbreak as I heard the sincere words, "can you please stay?" 

So I am here heartbroken. I think of the converts from my mission and I can't even express my feelings. Words really can't describe it. I love these people SO much. I would do anything to help them stay faithful. Really, THAT is what makes the mission real. It is the people. It is not the badge or even my dedication, what makes it real, what makes it worth it is THE PEOPLE. I love them so much. It truly hurts like nothing I have ever felt to leave them. 

So it is almost all over, but it is not really over, I know this is just the start. I can't easily sum up all that I have learned in these last 2 years. Honestly, I think of it all, and the only image that comes to my mind is the Savior. If there is one thing I have learned about missionary service, it is that it is ALL ABOUT HIM.  It is all about Him, it is all thanks to Him, it is all through Him... It is ALL about Christ. He does it all, we just have to have focussed faith in Him and recognize His hand, and the miracles always come. Maybe they do not come when we want, but I promise that if we have focussed faith in Jesus Christ, they ALWAYS come. His grace is truly unfailing. 
I will forever be His witness and His servant. 

I love the people of Argentina. I love the Savior. I will forever thank my Father in Heaven for the blessing of being able to serve in Buenos Aires. These last 2 years I have literally been living the dream. Christ lives! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Thank you all so much for your prayers, love, and support over these last 2 years...well 20 years. I am SO so blessed.


Elder Tenney

pictures: Baptism of Blanca

I am going to miss this city so much. 

Life in the jungle.