Mystery solved...We were finally able to get the 1st big email Elder Tenney sent to us dated 09/22/09! Here are the highlights...
"Our first week has been awesome!" "The food here is amazing! I've already gained 8 kilos here, which is about 6 pounds. Seriously. The food is good."
"We went to the templo...temple today and while I was waiting to go to the chapel I was asked to do initiatories instead. It was really really really reallyreally reallyreally reallyreally reallyreally reallyreally reallyreally really awesome!!! It was all in Portuguese, and I think just listening is helping me to improve my portuguese pronunciation. The sessions for us are in English by the way, except for a bit of portuguese at the end."
"When I arrived in the SLC airport, there was only one elder there. ...he had the 12:00 flight to Dallas. I watched them board, and then a guy came over and said, when are you leaving elder? I said 3:10, and he said, that's not good! I just loaded your luggage on the 12 flight! So my ticket was changed and I boarded last minute. That's why I didn't call. But then they had engine problems right before take off, and long story short, I managed to get my original seat back after standing in lines for 2.5 hours, but elder *** had to reschedule for the next morning. He is here now. 2 days delay. Sad day, I know!"
"I am having an extremely hard time spelling now..."
"Most of my district is going to manaus, but there is a sao paulo south and a recife. r at the beginning and middle of a word makes the h sound. so it sounds like hecife, or heh-see-feh."
"Did I mention the food is most excellent?"
"I'm only allowed to take pictures on pday in the CTM (Center for Training Missionaries). They don't want us to look like tourists, so the only pictures I will have are of the CTM."
"EVERYONE HERE LOOKS OR ACTS LIKE SOMEONE FROM HOME!!! My companion looks like cousin nathan b, but more my height. His personality is kinda like Quinten Hardman, but just a little. Elder B. looks and acts just like Steve Ott, but with brown hair. His companion Elder J. is like a mix of Ryan Wiggins and Josh Christensen. :) There is an Elder Wiggins here by the way!!! It is so cool! I saw Kevin Steck here. He arrived last Wednesday from the Provo MTC. Elder C, our DL, hmmm...I can't think of who he is like. His companion is a red-head named Elder Larsen, and guess who he looks like! You Betcha! He looks...not exactly, but kinda like Todd."
"Elder K is my fellow star wars nerd, and he is like a tall Colton Campbell. He is super awesome and likes minty things. He always has listerine packets and ricola. his comp elder H is another one I have a hard time describing...I'll get around to it."
"The classes are good. I'll try sending our weekly schedule to you next week. I'm almost out of time. You can use MissionTies.com thing to send me letters sooner. I don't know how they get to me, but they do somehow."
"We sleep in bunk beds by the way. I still need to go do my laundry today...I've got 3 hours left. :) Please send many letters! PLEASE PLEASE (Elder Tenney repeated this about 50 times:) !!!! Even though I really don't have time to read them...Kidding!!! but yeah...."
"Ummm...have I said the food is really good yet?"
"I can bear my testimony and pray in portuguese right now. They seriously do not waste time teaching. They used to, but they took away an hour of personal study time for more class time."
Well, I wanted to share most of that email in Elder Tenney's ow words so you can tell he's still got the same fun personality. The three top things I learned from this first email are:
1. He loves the food:)
2. He really, really, really wants letters in his mailbox from all of us!
3. He is already learning the language, enjoying the spirit of the temple, and loving missionary life.
Now for excerpts from this 2nd email dated 09/29/09:
"Hey, everyone! Just sitting here in the CTM typing away, having a good ol time. The keyboards and stuff here are different, so I seriously am having a hard time typing..."
"So, we just got back from our second temple trip about an hour ago. I finally got to go through a session, and it was amazing! It is so easy to feel the spirit there when the entire place is filled up with missionaries!"
"So how is everyone doing? The only letter I've received so far is one from Sam, so I feel like I fell off the face of the Earth or something...Everyone and Anyone can send me snail mail!"
"Is it true that some strange creature was seen in Panama that looks like Gollum from Lord of the Rings? Irmao D. said it was all over the news all over the world, and it was chasing some kids and they stoned it to death. We need confirmation on this siting!"
"I went to the distribution center today .... I bought a Portuguese bible, Book of Mormon (triple), and a mini portuguese hymn book."
"Classes and stuff are intense. We are just on the first lesson right now, and its all jam packed with info that we have to learn in English first, then we start all over again in Portuguese! It's insane!"
"I'm at about 147 pounds now, but I'm afraid that this rollercoaster I'm on is gong to plummet to the end of the ride when I get to Manaus and start back at my original weight. Oh well, enjoy it while it lasts."
"We are going to the post office today to buy stamps and envelopes so I can send snail mail. And we are going to exchange the rest of our cash. Everything is really close to the MTC. It's pretty much awesome."
"I don't really remember what all the questions were about the CTM and stuff like that, but if you ask me, I'll try to answer to the best of my capability. Nobody really has asked me anything yet..so I'm just rambling away still."
"Give me a topic. :P"
"Is BYU winning? I heard they lost a game the other week..sad day."
"A guy on our floor got a box sent to him from his parents a couple of nights ago. Lucky guy. It was filled with American Candy. I would love to have some cow tails and milky ways if its not too much of a hassle. If you wanna wait till Manaus, then ok...."
"All the Brazilians on our floor went out to the field last night. Since it was their last night here, they kept us up for quite awhile with a lot of singing, yelling, and running about. It was semi-funny, except we couldn't get to sleep and had to be up earlier than usual to get to the temple."
"I'm doing pretty good. My cold went away about 5 days into the mission. There are bugs everywhere."
"I saw a bunch of Green Parrots today!!!! Like seriously! They are so awesome! They were all over the temple grounds, just chirping away!"
I love all you guys! I miss you all a ton! Have EVERYONE write stuff! Individual letters appreciated! Don't group them all up and make it look like one. More Envelopes=More Love. But please, no empty envelopes cuz that's just empty love. Kidding."
"Stay in touch!"
So, there you have it...The first 2 weeks of Elder Tenney's missionary experience. Thanks for following his blog, and to all his friends and family, please, please, please:) take time to send him a letter or card of support when you can. 98 cents 1st class postage from the US to Brazil. And thanks especially for remembering him in your prayers.