September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Week #67: Pictures Say It All!

This week, I shall be using my handy dandy new memory card reader to send some much wanted photos to all you peoples in StG. I´ll just bullet list the highlights since Sunday.
-Still working on Birth Certificate.

-Bought a box to send stuff home soon.

-Transfers this week.

-It´s New Year's! I still have to be sleeping at 10:30pm like last year. I slept through the fireworks last year. They party until 2ish in the morning. -I am happy, healthy, and going strong.

Happy week! It´s President Jayme´s 60th birthday on the 30th (tomorrow) Love you all! -=Elder Tenney=-

Elders Tenney & Poulton: Hometown Friends Reunited @ Last!
Zone Conference - 26 October 2010

"We went to INPA a few weeks ago."
17 November 2010
INPA Critter (P-Day Outing)
17 November 2010
"It's a Giant Leaf!"
17 November 2010

" I almost got a good pic of a monkey"
17 November 2010

"It's me!" (Elder Tenney - 17 November 2010)

"There were a bunch of little tiny frogs everywhere!"
17 November 2010

"Manaus Banner"
17 November 2010

"Janderson´s baptism - there was a little girl baptized by her dad, too, on the side"
21 November 2010

"My bed/couch that I used to have"
28 November 2010

"Debora's Baptism"
28 November 2010

"Elders Tenney & Ammon"
08 December 2010

"A Sunset"
15 December 2010

Maria´s Baptism
19 December 2010

"My Poor Shoes"
20 December 2010

"My Poor Shoes" #2
20 December 2010

Don't think duct tape will work on THAT hole....
20 December 2010

"I´ve still got a bit of shoes that should last another 2-3 months before they end up in the same state as those. I´m going to buy shoes next transfer." 20 December 2010

"Temple Construction"
Mission Christmas Conference - 22 December 2010

"Temple Quarters for Missionary Couples"
22 December 2010
"Elder Tenney @ the Manaus Temple"
22 December 2010

"Temple with District 38-C from the CTM for Mission Christmas Conference"
22 December 2010

Nicolau & Iracema´s Baptism
26 December 2010

That´s all for now. We´re off to work again!

-Elder Tenney

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Phone Call :P

We had a great 73 minute phone call with Elder Tenney on Christmas morning about 11:15.  It took awhile to get through to him, so when we did it was amidst tears of joy and relief when we heard his voice!  The missionary work is going very well - today he was to have a baptism, so he was very excited about that as well as all the wonderful teaching opportunities he is having.  He is just as funny and full of good humor as always and declared himself to be as healthy as can be and just completely happy with his missionary life as we could possibly ask for. 

There is no feeling like having your extended family gathered around you during the holiday season and sharing time talking to a missionary son or daughter in the field far from home.  It is a sacrifice not only for that missionary but for parents and family and friends who love and miss that missionary beyond words to have him gone from your midst, for so long.   

Some reading this may wonder why we do it...why does the missionary do this?  Because we love our Saviour Jesus Christ and want to share His gospel message with the world.  Our Father in Heaven sacrificed His Only Begotten Son for us....the least we can do is sacrifice our time and means and yes...even 2 years of time apart from our loved ones,  for Him to help the world to know of His love for us and His plan of Salvation which allows us the opportunity to return again to live with Him someday in eternal families forever.  Never to be separated again....

Merry Christmas!  Thanks for all of your love and support of our family and Elder Tenney this past year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Week #66: Phone Plans & Mission Christmas Conference

All right, this might be the most difficult phone call of the mission so far. We are going to try calling from a member´s house. Her name is ** and she is 70+ and a little crazy. She is a recent convert, too. We are going to be there in the afternoon. How it is going to work is I might have to call from her phone to home and then hang up so you know I am there and ready for you to call back. I am going to be there between 2-2:30 my time, that means 11-11:30 your time I believe. I am including her number just in case. I am a little worried because she said her phone is a little weird, so we might have to go to a different place or borrow a cell phone or something if her´s doesn´t work, but she is one of the few people with a land line. Please someone get online soon and send me the US code and everything down to the area and number I should call. What I am planning on is ***.  Correct me if I am wrong. Or tell me the number to dad´s office if you will call from there. Please invite Grandma T. to be there when I call! I would love to talk to her. If Grandma M. and Cecil are there visiting I would love to talk to them, too!

Sorry I am writing so late, we had our mission Christmas conference today and it ended at 6:30 and we took the bus for 2 hours to get back and we came straight to the lan house to send off the stuff. I got the big box! Haven´t opened it yet... I will send pix next week!  {Yea!  We have missed getting Elder Tenney's pictures since his memory card reader broke several weeks ago).

The wedding we were planning probably will fall next week. Neto´s birth certificate is all hashed up so the gov. place that does weddings isn't accepting it and he will have to go to Parintins way far away to get a new one, but he doesn't have any money to do that kind of trip, so they may have to save up for a few months or so...

For conference we went to the Manaus temple {The temple isn't completed yet, but will be by next fall} and had a testimony meeting and then we did a talent show and then we went to a place called Gaucho´s which is like Made In Brazil and then we watched a movie called Defying the Giants which is like a Bible movie/motivation movie. It was really cool to link the stuff in it to missionary work and the mission.

{Instructions for our phone call with the number he gave us follow} Just say "Elder Tenney está?" over and over. She won´t understand you. This number does not have the country code. *** is the state code I think. The last 8 numbers are her house number. Good luck and Love you all!

Merry Christmas!

I love you all! Talk to you this Saturday!

-Elder Mitchell H. Tenney

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week #65: Happy Week Before Christmas!

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Manaus, All the missionaries were working, teaching in every house; Their clothes were neatly pressed and hung with great care, In hopes of a baptism that soon would be there; The missionaries were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of teaching lessons and people danced in their heads; And Elder Ammon on one bed, and I on the other, Had just settled down for a regular night... what rhymes with other? When out on the street there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen rain, Gave the whole scene such a strange sight below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a firey flame, and crazy, drunk men in the act of "jeer", With a little old driver, so shifty and quick, I knew in a moment it must be... a terrorist act. More rapid than eagles they came and attacked, And they whistled, and shouted, and smacked; "Now, Gasoline! now, Fire! now, throw in the bomb, and let´s get farther! On, it goes! on with the flame! on, let´s get away without any blame! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top, the flames they flew, With the little building they blew up too.. And then, in a twinkling, I heard down the road, The screaming of sirens of the police as they rode. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, I said it wasn´t my business, and continued to sleep on the ground.

Ok, so info on this strange story. First off, I am not a witness to anything, but the other night one of the little street vendor hamburger joints just down the road from us got blown up in the middle of the night. I didn´t know until the next day. I slept through the explosion. Second fact, I have a bed, so I am not sleeping on the ground. But, basically, some guys came driving up in the middle of the night, soaked it with gasoline, then threw a small bomb in it and it was nothing but a bunch of gravel and blackened bricks a little later. Cool Beans.

This week was pretty good for us. We are getting the wedding for Neto and Sandra going sometime next week we hope. Doing the wedding papers is stressful. I don´t remember if I told how we met them. Neto and Sandra live in a house filled with people that Elder Gannon and I were teaching last year. We passed by a few weeks ago and I was like, hey! I remember this place. Why did we stop teaching here?  So we went back and basically we began to teach about 10 people of the same family. Most of them are marked for baptism during this month starting this Saturday and part of January. Cool stuff.

We had a Multi-Stake Conference this Sunday. It was for the entire Northern Region of Brazil. Elder Anderson and Pres. Uchtdorf did a transmission. There was the YM pres and Elder Stanley G. Ellis, also. Elder Ellis and Elder Anderson speak Portuguese! They spoke mainly about the blessings that will come with having a temple close by (Manaus and Forteleza). We didn´t manage to have time to see the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional...

On Dec. 22 we will have the Mission Christmas Conference. All the missionaries are to do group talent shows in districts or zones. Our zone is going to do the Christmas Birth of Christ Play. My district is the shephards. yay! ShEeP!

But yes, all is well in Zion. Sorry for the lack of creativity on the poem. I sort of lost it after a bit and my mind went blank.

Have an awesome week! Love you all!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Week #64: It seemed like it would be such an awesome day.....

Behold, it came to pass that the great and abominable church did create a holiday on the 8th of December. And the name given unto that holiday was that of Nossa Senhora da Concessão. (Our Lady of Concession?) Behold, as Elder Tenney and Elder Ammon were coming back home from the Mission Office after dropping off Wedding Documents for a family they are teaching, a great procession began in the middle of Manaus because of said holiday. Behold, it was a mighty procession, in which 50,000+ people did participate, and which did cause much rage and confusion amongst the drivers in the city center. Much to the dismay of the Elders, they stayed on the bus home for FOUR hours, two of which were in the same spot, waiting for said procession to pass. Behold, Elder Tenney has a great headache, and upon arrival was very grumpy because they still had to inform their families and Presidente Jayme about their week. And it came to pass that finally they have arrived in the Lan House, and are able to send such messages for a short space of time. This message is written on a keyboard by Elder Tenney, or, I, Elder Tenney, do write these things.

So, I woke up and said, "Today is gonna be awesome!" We had some study time, made mango/acerola juice, cleaned the house and had planned to go to the staff to drop off some papers; More info on that in a bit. Little did we know that there would be huge traffic jams all over Manaus. It was crazy!!

So, Zone Conference was on Tuesday. Still no package. President Jayme has changed, though. He only has 7 months left until he goes home, and he gave us an ultimatum. He wants to turn over a mission that is 100% obedient, diligent, faithful etc. He has been very merciful over the past with Elders and does everything he can to not have to send them home unless they really need to. Now it is different. Secret Combinations and iniquity are amock. President Jayme said in order for him to go before the judgment bar at the last day without the "blood of our sins on his vestments", he will not tolerate anything. He laid down the law and those who do not fulfill will go home. He gave us the example of Gideon and the 300. It started as 32,000 soldiers, but they ended up with less than 1% of their original force and still made mighty miracles because those that were still there were the Called and Chosen. So, to start the first weeding process, President Jayme had a quick 2-3 minute interview with everyone with a single question: Will you rededicate yourself to serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, or will you continue to do things your way and more than likely go home? With Gideon, it was a question of are you scared to die, and 22,000 said yes and went home. I think almost all the missionaries said they will continue on. The second phase is that of who will drink from the water cautiously and who will go down and slurp up the water and die (go home). President Jayme said he doesn´t know how many missionaries he will give to the new President. Right now there are 127 here in the Manaus Mission. Last year was 200+ when I got here! 6 leave at new year, and 13 are scheduled to come here. But in February, 20 are leaving. Pres. Jayme said if he only has 30 missionaries to give over, he will be happy because it will be an obedient mission. Lots of missionaries are showing true colors now by their attitudes. Some are sad now because they can´t continue on how it has been, as kind of a lax thing. For me, I got kind of this fire kindled inside of me, like I´m ready to just go and throw all of Manaus in the river and baptize them. It´s a strange feeling.

Enough about that, let´s talk investigators. So, The Golden House turned out to have problems. Coffee and Wedding. When we started teaching they were like, "yeah, yeah, we´re married." then we taught the Law of Chastity thinking it was ok and then, "Oh, no, we aren´t married." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo............................!

So, we rushed all the documents and if we are lucky we could do the wedding on Christmas or a little after. (The wedding is for a couple called Neto and Sandra).  Sandra´s whole family lives in that house. Her sisters, Maria, and Irasema and brother Nicolau will probably get baptized a little bit before. I´m super excited. Sometimes when we pass by, the Jehovah´s Witnesses are there teaching some of the brothers, but when we show up they all perk up and smile at us and invite us in. (JW´s have to sit outside). Sandra has been reading the Gospel Principles book from church and she really likes it, but we put an emphasis on the Book of Mormon for her to be reading and praying to get a testimony of it. Oh! Zone Conference ended up being with Center Zone instead of North, so I didn´t see Elder Poulton... I hear he is doing good though! There´s a chance I could be his comp next transfer.. (That´s more just me wishing. But it´s a possibility.)

Good News! I got a bed! We got it from another elder´s house and I have had 4 nights of wonderful, peaceful sleep. Just to let you know, Christmas is on a Saturday, so I don´t have to worry about church interfering with it, unless President Jayme says it should be on the Sunday. I might end up knowing on the 22nd when and where and how I will call you. We are looking for a member with a phone...

I am going to renew my visa this Friday. A little late, but I think I will only stay in the jail for 3 days. (Kidding)

Thanks for all the love and support! Love you all!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Week #63: It's Another Week in the Neighborhood

So, this last week was a blast. I was a little sick for a couple days. Let´s just say I got in on the wrong end of a bad milk product. If you want to know what the symptoms are for that, you can look it up. I ain´t describing it. But I wasn´t going very well and I had huge stomach pains. Thankfully it has all passed now. Milk here is weird. It´s good for one year after making it because they do a radiation treatment to it. It tastes like... like... radiated milk! There just isn´t any way to describe it.

I have been sleeping on the small couch we have in our apartment the past few nights. If I sleep with the mattress on the ground, ants bite me all night long and it is terrible. So, I put the mattress on the couch with some chairs on the side for support. It´s a little lumpy, but I am getting lots of good rest now. First time that I have slept straight through the night in 13 weeks. It was amazing! We went out this morning to get a bed from a different house in our district, but when we got there the other elders had left, so I´m just going to be a trooper and stay with the couch for another week. It´s not that bad actually.

Zone conference is this next Monday. I´m looking forward to it. I hope I get a package and letters and whatnot at this one. Also, I will see Elder Poulton! Yay! I heard he stayed with Elder Koehler. Elder Koehler has been in that area for about 9-10 months now. Poor guy...

We met a Polish guy last night! It was really weird. He stopped us in the road as we were on our way home. He just flat up asked- How do you guys get paid- and we had that nice little chat of how we pay our mission and not get paid. He came to Manaus 10 years ago as a Catholic missionary but became doubtful of his religion and just decided to live here now. He had a strange accent. Really crisp with the words.

We had another baptism this Sunday of a young woman named Debora. I was teaching her sister a long time ago with Elder Martins before I left the area. (That other sister was baptized after I left.) The other day I remembered a family that I had taught when I was with Elder Gannon a year ago and decided to go there. We now have 5 people marked to be baptized on December 12! There are a lot of people in the house, too! Gold Mine! What's more, they are already married! I love blessings.

All in all, it´s a great week. I forgot it was Thanksgiving, but yeah. I was a little sad yesterday when I remembered that it was a year ago that Grandpa passed away, but I know that me and him are doing the same stuff, just in different places.

Have an awesome week!

Elder Tenney

PS- I got a haircut today. I had the lady cut it super super short, so that I could see where my hairline is. I´m not as bald as I thought! Yay!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week #62: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Everybody!

I had totally forgotten it was Thanksgiving this week. I´m thankful that you reminded me. I am thankful that Sam got on the Basketball Team. I am thankful that I don´t have a foot fungus as of right now. I am thankful that I stayed in my same area with Elder Ammon this transfer. I am thankful that Christmas is coming up. I am thankful that bread is cheap in Manaus. I am thankful that toilet paper exists here. I am thankful for running water. I am thankful for electricity. I am thankful for a mattress to sleep on. I am thankful for a pillow to rest my head. I am thankful for my clothes. I am thankful for my dying shoes which shall probably be replaced soon. I am thankful for duct tape and how it works to waterproof the before stated shoes. I am thankful for Doctor Scholl´s. I am gellin´. I am thankful for mangos and bananas and apples and oranges and tangerines and açai and cupuaçu and araçá-boi and graviola and macaxeira and pupunha and taperebá and piquiá and tucumã and bacaba and acerola and guaraná and limes and lemons and pears and grapes and watermelon and peaches. I am missing a whole lot of fruits, but I´ll just let it go there. I am ....thankful.... for...... rain........... maybe...... I am thankful for music. Very much. Very very much. Oooooh so much. I am thankful for computers and how I can email home every week. I am thankful for water and water purifiers. I am thankful for baptism, and how the water purifies. I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how through our faith in Him, miracles can happen. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, and for its comfort it brings to me in times of trial. I am thankful for my companions, every single one of them, and the things I was able to learn from them. I am thankful for President Jayme and for the counsels he gives to me. I am thankful for my mission leaders and fellow missionaries. I am thankful for prayer, that through it I can speak with Heavenly Father on a constant basis. I am thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that through Him I can be forgiven of all of my sins, and return to live with Heavenly Father with all of you. I am thankful for my mission, and for the experiences I am having here in the field. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and the Bible and all other scriptures, and for the teachings that are inside that record that the Prophets left for us and are still giving us in these latter days. I am thankful for the temple, that through the ordinances done there I can be sealed to my family for time and all eternity.

I am thankful for my family, and for all the love and support that they give me.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Elder Tenney

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week #61: 14 Months! Week 6 of Transfer 9

Hello, Hello, Hello!

So, this last week was pretty good. We have been teaching Janderson´s brother, Jonathas, who was marked to be baptized last Sunday. There was a small speed bump in the road, but this next Sunday he is all up and ready to go. Jonathas has an extremely large testimony of the Gospel. He even bore it to us the other day. Basically we are just making small visits this week to keep him pumped up and excited.

We had made a contact with a man in the road the other week. We marked to go back, but I got a little lost. We decided to go to a house on the street we were at to ask directions. Turns out, that house had an inactive family in it. How are they now? Active. It was a miracle. Then the man we were looking for ended up yelling at us to come over in the road and we kept teaching him. He had started reading the Book of Mormon and was extremely interested.

Yesterday, I made 14 months in the field.... Seriously, it is going by extremely fast. Too fast for my liking.

Today we went to INPA. It is like a zoo/science study place. They do studies of the Amazon Forest. It wasn´t all that exciting, except that the animals are allowed to roam free through the zoo. Except the crocodiles. The monkeys went swinging around over our heads at one part. I got a pic! So yeah, it was cool. There was the world´s largest leaf there from the Amazon. It was bigger than me!

Transfers are coming up next week. Who knows where I am going to be this next Tuesday! (Day of Transfers) More areas are closing because there are about 10 missionaries leaving and only 2 coming in. It's a rough life.

Well, that´s about it. Love you all tons! Happy Thanksgiving next week! Happy Birthday, Blake! Thanks for the amazing email Grandma Tenney! Love you!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week #60: I'm Singing in the Rain!

Oi! Como estão?

So, this last week has been really tiring. We have done a lot of walking. Right now we are working out in the Sharp Community, which is the furthest neighborhood from our house. Basically, if we had gone any further, we would have gone into the area of Mauazinho. (I didn´t know it was so close to here!) We received one reference out there and now we are finding a whole bunch of people to teach! Our teaching group had died, but now it is starting to come back to life again. I´m starting to realize that a teaching group has an average life span of 2 weeks, then you have to basically get a new one. Well, actually you shouldn´t let it just die, you should always be putting in and taking out people constantly so it can stay healthy, but usually if you don´t go looking for new people, it dies fast. But, on a happy side, we have a baptism marked for this Sunday, and another one for next Saturday after. The first one is of Jonathas, who is Janderson´s brother, the guy I baptized with Elder Seastrand. He is an elect. He was already trying to quit drinking coffee before we found him. The other guy is Antônio. He was an old investigator from a few years ago that I found in the Area Book. That Saturday is also the day the phone call comes for transfers, so I don´t know much of what is going to go on after that one. We also started teaching Fabio´s parents. His dad was really against the church a long time ago, but now that he is seeing how Fabio´s life is changing, he has softened up a bit and we are teaching him. He accepted the Book of Mormon as the word of God, but he isn´t really in the mood to pray about it. Give him another couple days and he will come around.

All in all, Zion is growing! Hope you all are having a blast! Good luck to Sam with the basketball tryouts. I will only accept Desert Hills beating Pine View if Sam is on the team!

Boa Sorte, Buddy!

Love you all!

Church is true in case you had any doubts.

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Week #59: Power Week!

Hey all,

Hows bes yous alls? Is bes goods. This last week was a power week in the mission. We went all out and we have quite a large teaching group now of young couples and men. If all goes well, we will be doing 6 weddings on the 27th and about 15 baptisms. But, that´s just the hope. Most of the people aren´t exactly accepting, but if they all do, that´s about the potential number. Probably will filter out to one wedding with 2 being baptized, but that´s the idea of teaching lots. SOMEONE in there is ready to accept the message.

Our investigator that is closest to being baptized is Jonathas. He is the brother of Janderson, that Elder Seastrand and I baptized when I was here last time. Jonathas is like a golden investigator. He reads, prays, received an answer, was already trying to stop drinking coffee before we met him, and has no other problems that we are aware of yet. 13 of November is our goal.

We have had a few headache-giving investigators the last few days. People that just don´t seem to get it and they say that even if they got an answer from Heavenly Father they wouldn´t trade their religion, then they say that it can´t be true anyways because Joseph Smith´s name isn´t in the Bible. We try to explain, but a hard heart is a hard thing to get through.

This transfer is going by extremely fast. It´s practically Christmas again! So very excited I am!

Have an awesome week!

Love you all tons!

-Elder Tenney

Bad news about pictures: My card reader burned out for some reason last week and isn´t working anymore. It is going to be a while before pictures come again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week #58: A Seventy & an Ultimatum

How be everyone? I´m doing just dandy. I feel like I´m in this never ending cycle of opening an area with nothing, getting it all set up and going, then I get transferred and open another area. It wears a person out after a while. But, I know one thing for sure.   I am way less shy talking with people now. This last Sunday after trying to bring people to church, we arrive at the chapel and the bishop says, "Good timing, elders! We need you to give talks today." "Ok, Bishop, we can do it." (In our heads, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo......... well, at least we have old talks from the past already prepared.")  I ended up writing a quicky about faith leading to repentance and I used Enos 1:3-8 as a story for that.
Elder Tenney: "Study Time"
23 November 2009

I started the Book of Mormon again in Portuguese the other week. Already in Alma. It´s so much easier the second time around. I´m marking it up, too, so it´s not really a speed read either. I have a goal of reading it at least 5 times in Portuguese on the mission.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to hear from Elder C. Scott Grow of the 1st quorum of the 70. One of the things he is in charge of is that he is on the committee of Restoration of Blessings and Cancellation of Sealings. Committee of 4. They get lots of requests every week and then they pass everything to the 1st Presidency and then the 1st Presidency will either confirm or change what they decided. I just love how the church is organized. I don´t know how President Monson has enough time in a day to do all that is required of him. He was just out in Rome dedicating the temple this last weekend.
Jungle Road
04 August 2010

This last week was one of the worst for the Brasil Manaus Mission. There were only 7 baptisms. President Jayme put out a mandate that if the missionaries are not working trying to find people, just lazing around doing nothing, they will be sent home. Seems it is becoming a problem. What we all really need is just a faith booster to go out and believe that there is someone waiting for us to talk to them. It makes all the difference in the world with this hope than that of a what's-the-point-of-contacts-no-one-gets-baptized-from-them attitude. Of course, references from members are the best thing in the world and work almost every time, but in order to show the members that you want their help in finding, you have to show them that you are finding as well. I´m not going to lie. I don´t like doing contacts all that much, but contacting to have a teaching group is better than sitting around and waiting. It´s one of those Go-and-Do sort of things or Faith-without-works-is-dead.

Anyways, E. C. Scott Grow was good. He made an open question seminar with the missionaries. He asked for questions, and then he taught us what he felt was most important from the questions. I haven´t copied the notes over to my journal yet, so it´s not very fresh on my mind. 

Elder Tenney's Missionary Shoes
12 December 2009

Oh! I got the package with the pit rub and socks and candy and stuff!!! Thank you so much! Some of the stuff like shoe polish I can find here for cheap, but it saves me a few reais. The candy corn seems like it can´t take the climate here unless I keep it in the fridge, but the chocolatey goodness is very accepted! LOVE YOU ALL!

So, being the end of October and me missing the feeling of cold weather, I put up the Christmas tree I kept from last year that I got from Jessica and friends.

Oh, Big NeWs!! I saw Elder Poulton!!! It was amazing! For a second I really felt like I was back home and just sitting at school talking to friends or something! Then a Brazilian walked up and spoke in Portuguese and it went away. Oh, well. I´m trying to send a picture, but the little picture transfer thing is not playing kindly today....

Elder Mitchell Tenney
04 August 2010
Love you all! Thanks so much for everything! Pray4Me!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week #57: Simple Life

Dear Family and other human life forms,

This week was good. It was basically going around visiting all my old investigators. Everyone here seems amazed with my sudden ability to speak in Portuguese and understand what they are saying. I guess I improved over the last few months. :) Church this Sunday was a little weird. There was a hundred people, but it was almost all young women and children. There were very few men there. We have our work cut out for us. All the people have different callings so the patters of houses we would visit is different and we are working more over on one side of the area where more members live than where I would work when I was here last time. Elder Poulton called me last week. It was super good to hear him talk. It's just extra proof to make sure that he really is here in Manaus. It´s really weird, but seeing all the same people, but with different personalities kind of threw me off. Suddenly I understand them better and see them as different people. It really does help to understand them better and help them understand, too, about the message that we are here trying to share. I lost some weight since the last time I was here. Last time I would just smile and nod my head, eat something to avoid having to talk, etc. Kind of like the RM movie. :p

We found some of the old families that I was teaching here a long time ago. There was one family that moved to Matto Grosso, a different state in Brazil, but came back last month. I am super excited to see where this one is going to go. Elder Reil, Elder Poulton´s MTC companion, is in my district. He is a most excellent missionary.

Our zone had a zone meeting yesterday. The Zone Leaders put up a mock trial and split the zone. We were to find scriptures to justify our reasoning to finding new investigators every week, or not needing to do it. We all know it is something we need to do, but they asked us to play the part. President Jayme was invited with the assistants to be the "Jury". It was an extremely funny activity, and helped us all to see the importance of always trying to find new investigators. I´ll see if I can get pictures from anyone.
Simple Life 1
20 October 2010

Simple Life 2
20 October 2010
Basically, I find myself not really needing much for the simple life I am leading. I have to choose a shirt: white, white, or white on white, and then study my extensive library of the scriptures and Preach my Gospel. I decided I am going to leave a lot of the extra baggage that I really don´t need in this area. Still waiting for the boxes, though. Supposedly there is a store here that has American products like brownie mix. We are going to go investigate sometime soon.

Life Is Good.

Read the Scriptures. Pray Always. Be an Example of the Believers. Love you all.
Elder Tenney

(The following is Elder 10-e's reply to questions about his living conditions and if he exercises every day):  Ammon O´Connor is my comp.  (He goes by "Elder Ammon".  Elder 10-e told us that  his name is Ammon O´Connor, but he had to change his nametag because  "O'Connor" sounds like the Portuguese words "o corno" which means traitor in a marriage or relationship.) I have a mattress. What is air conditioning? It's been a long time. Is it something new? I wake up in the morning, think about exercising, get tired again... no, I'm kidding. I do some stretches, but we walk every single day all over, and running means having a good chance of getting hit by a car/bus/motorcycle, so yeah. Elder Poulton is with Elder Daniel Koehler from my CTM district. He is going to have the time of his life this transfer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week #56: Big Week!

Elder Tenney (second from left)
watching General Conference in English
03 October 2010

Hey, so first off: I´m super excited! Elder Poulton (Elder Tenney's friend from home!) finally got in last night!!! He has an awesome companion! One of the best.  His companion, Elder Koehler, called me and I got to talk to him for a bit. He is off in the North Zone, so I think I´ll see him at the Oct. 26 Area 70 meeting. :)!!!!
Weldon Gomes of Castanheira & Elder Tenney
atop the Century Hotel in Manaus
09 October 2010
(Weldon is an employee at the hotel)

Next: Where in the world am I? Let´s just say I did not go very far. Alright, I can´t stall anymore, I´m back in Castanheira! (This was Elder Tenney's first area out of the CTM)  Both of the elders that were here had to be taken out due to problems, and as I know the area, I´m back in business! My companion is Elder O'Connor from San Diego. He is finishing up the mission in February. I get to see all the old familiar faces here! Everyone is still active and going strong as far as I can see. Joseneire was baptized a couple weeks ago, so in one year him and Ana Paula can go to the temple! Elcy´s little boy was baptized last month on his 8th birthday as well! The RS president had a baby, as well as the Elder's quorum president's wife! Suelen, Fabio´s wife, is also pregnant. It's a happy place now!
Elder Arruda, Deivid, Elder Tenney
@ Deivid's Baptism

We had a baptism last Sunday with Deivid (pronounced David). It was super awesome. He was 100% ready to go this time. He put off all his problems and started a new life.
Elder Tenney's house in Castanheira
13 October 2010

So, I´m back in my first area. The house was a disaster when I got there. Seems the other missionaries were fighting A LOT. Everything is broken and there is only one bed.

Bedroom in Castanheira
13 October 2010

I´m on the ground for now until I buy a hammock. The time has come. I´m just going to sleep in a hammock now. I likes it. Elder Reil, Elder Poulton´s CTM companion, is in my district. Of my group, Elder Owens, Elder Cotten and I are the only ones that are still juniors. I think that will change in the next couple of transfers. About 6 Americans came in this last transfer, and the Area Presidency gave a challenge to every stake in Brazil to send 5 missionaries before the end of the year. It´s kind of 1 missionary from each ward. There are exactly 661 missionaries missing in Brazil. 5 per stake will fix that. The temple should be opened in the first trimester of 2012. The tower is almost done!

What? No "Tropicana" orange juice?
04 October 2010

Pray for me.
Love you all.
Have a most excellent week.
Eat good.
Pray Always.
Be Obedient.
Brush your Teeth.
Read the Scriptures.
Go to Church.
Use Deodorant.
Send me Deodorant.
Love you all tons.

Big Brazilian Smiles
(Not sure who these young men are...elders?...notice the whiteboard
 to the right with the "SMILE" acronym...)
11 October 2010


Elder Tenney

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Week #55: We Need More Missionaries!

Email to Mom:

Hey, sorry about the wait.  We were coming home on the bus and it took about an hour and a half longer than we thought for the overall trip. Wrong bus, of course. There is always a faster route on a different bus. But we are here now and I'm reading really fast. I don't have any pix or anything with me right now. We just baaarrrely got back, so this week will be really short. I'm going to read the rest of the emails then send a little message.

Weekly Email:

Hey all!

So, not much time to lose. We got back late because of the huge long bus ride that had like over 100 people on the bus and I was getting claustrophobic (sp?) so, anyway, it's gonna be short this week.

Conference was awesome! I will give it it's full time next week. Probably in a different area, because President Jayme told us that our area was more than likely due to be closed this transfer due to lack of member support. No lunch, not receiving us at home, no references, not teaching with us, chapel hasn't been cleaned in a month, stuff like that. So Mauazinho is going to have to chill a bit without missionaries.

Oh, in case you couldn´t tell, transfers are next Tuesday. Who knows where I´ll be. There are only 2 missionaries (Brazilians) that are coming this next transfer, and a legion is leaving. So... more areas than just mine closing.

This week we have a baptism of David, 17, who has been through many trials to get to this point. Pray for him that he can arrive to this happy day on Sunday ready to face his new life on the path to eternal life. He will more than likely serve a mission I think.
Joseneire & Ana Paula on their wedding day
29 January 2010

Elder Tenney & Elder Seastrand with Ana Paula & Joseneire
29 January 2010

Elder Martins called me the other day. I miss him a lot.  He´s actually a really cool guy.  He called me to tell me that Joseneire (Ana Paula´s husband from the wedding E. Seastrand and I did) got baptized!!
Elder Seastrand & Elder Tenney with Elcy & Ana Paula
29 January 2010

Also, Elcy´s little boy turned 8 and was baptized as well! Already seeing some of the fruits of my labors. It´s stuff like that that brings a true smile to your face and puts the fire in your heart to keep treading along to help more people to be happy. Fabio and Suelen visited me the other Sunday here in Mauá and they are going 7 months strong in the church, and Suelen is pregnant! Hope it's a boy that can grow up and serve a mission! They told me Eduardo is going to get married soon to a returned missionary girl also, so yeah, basically Castanheira was a success. If you can, let Elder Gannon know if you can get ahold of him.  Most of these people are people he found with Elder Menezes or me. I´m sure he would be happy to know everything he left turned out to be a success.

Well, photos and stuff next week.

We have a general authority coming to visit on Oct. 26 - an Elder C. Scott Grow of the 1st quorum of the seventy. Sweet beans.

Have a great week! I will most definitely pray for Uncle Curtis.


Elder Tenney

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week #54: Mauazinho Blues - Part 2

Dear personages,

Dear Family,

I´m doing good. It was another week in the neighborhood.

Manaus Building
28 September 2010

More trips to the dentist and what-not. We had a baptism marked for this last Sunday, but it didn´t go too well in the interview. Thankfully, he is cleared to go on the 9th of October. His name is David. Elder Ciofe and Soelberg were teaching him before the area closed. We found him again, and he is still ready and willing to move forward with his life.

So, Thursday, Elder Arruda had huge pain problems from the kidney stones, so our zone leaders came and one stayed with him and the other went out to do visits with me. Friday, I finally finished Jesus the Christ in Portuguese by James E. Talmage. Then we went to the hospital yada yada yada. Saturday, we cleaned out the font, (before the interview), which was extremely dirty, as it hasn't been used in 6-7 months. The entire chapel is actually really dirty. We made some visits, had the interview, and yeah. Sunday, we had a meeting with the bishop, and Elder Arruda started burning him big time. He talked about how the chapel was always dirty every week and it has only been us cleaning it, how lunch has been falling every week, and how it is more than likely that this area will close again. Bishop got really flabbergasted. Felt kind of sorry for him. I might ask President to stay in the area, but I really don´t know if that will make much of a difference. Monday had a zone meeting, after which we went to the dentist. Then, the happy news, I found a post office! There isn´t a post office or a bank in our area, so getting money and mailing stuff has been a little hard this transfer. I bought a box. ;) Later that night, we had FHE with the 2nd counselor and his extended family. There were about 35-40 people there. There are enough people of all groups to open a branch in any area. It´s amazing to see that through all the apostasy and stuff in this ward, the entire family is still active. Tuesday, I finished D&C in Portuguese and started the Pearl of Great Price. Already in Abraham. After lunch, we went to the dentist and Elder Arruda got braces on his bottom teeth. Afterwards, we made a few visits, then went to have a little sleep over at the missionaries´ house in Petropolis. (Elder Sabino and Elder Canann) There were a bunch of legos in the house so we played with legos last night. Forgot my camera, but the Solomon´s temple was cool. Oh, we stayed the night there because we had to go back to the dentist today, so that E. Arruda could put braces on the top teeth. That is the end to the dentist visits. And I sent the box and letters and stuff today! Yay! I am super excited for Conference this weekend. This is my 3rd one on the mission already. One more after that and . . .

Brazil Souvenirs
28 September 2010

So that´s my week, family and personages. Hope you all are having an awesome time. And yes, I put a dvd of one year of photos in the box.

Have a nice day.


-Elder Tenney

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week #53: The Mauazinho Blues

by: Elder Tenney

There once was a missionary named Elder Tenney,
who had to reopen another area.
His companion´s name is Elder Arruda,
and they had no idea why they were in the area.
 They called President Jayme,
Asking all about the area.
President Jayme was led by the spirit,
to reopen Mauazinho, and wasn´t sure why.
Last Saturday, at 5 in the morning,
Elder Tenney was peacefully sleeping.
But Elder Arruda, who had been in Rondonia (Which has waaaaaaaaaaay too much dust and dirt in the air)
Was rolling in pain and agony.
Elder Tenney woke up,
"Você tá bem?" he asked. (You ok?)
"Nãoooooooooooooooooo," he replied. (no)
So they went to the hospital.
On the way there, Arruda described the pain,
as pain in the lower left side and down,
And Elder Tenney, having seen this before said,
"Poor soul, you have KIDNEY STONES."

Yes, I guessed right, Elder Arruda has kidney stones. This week was kind of destroyed by hospital visits and such. President Jayme wasn´t sure why this area would be reopened, but this area is really close to the Hospital Adventista de Manaus. If Elder Arruda hadn´t been transferred out of Rondonia, where there is little to no medical installations, he probably would have been a goner. It´s a curse of this area, though. There have been no baptisms for the last 7 months due to medical problems of the elders that passed through here, such as a broken knee, dengue (a disease), fighting, heart problems, kidney stones, and such. I twisted my ankle yesterday, but that ain´t nothing big. Hurts to walk, though.

Right now I am on a division with Elder Canann. He is from Texas. Elder Arruda went to the hospital with Elder Sabino. This week would have been a bit productive, but Elder Arruda decided to put braces on his teeth this week, too, so we have been going to the dentist and orthodontist. He should have all the procedures done by Monday.

But, through all this stuff that´s going on, we have a couple baptisms marked for this transfer. Both are of young men, 17/18 years old, (the 17-year-old will have his 18th bday in November) and they can get one year in as members and then serve missions! Yay!
Suelen & Fabio @ baptism: 26 February expecting their second child!

This last Sunday, Fabio and Suelen came to visit me here in Mauazinho from Castanheira! They are still going strong in the church, and their little daughter Geovana turned 6 in June! Oh, and Suelen is pregnant. Gonna be a happy little family growing up in the church. :)
Eduardo & returned sister missionary on 26 February engaged!

Eduardo (from Castanheira that I baptised) is going to get married soon to a returned sister missionary. It´s so awesome to see these people staying strong in the church and moving forward with their lives!

Knocking doors is one of the worst things in the world for a missionary. Knocking doors means you have given up on meeting the elects in the road, and worse, given up on the members in the ward to give references. . . . we might start knocking doors. :p  My shoes are good. Just send a few pairs of socks. I started using a pair of pants the other day for the first time. I still have a couple pairs I haven't used yet. Shirts are still white. I wash my whites with bleach, so everything stays somewhat nicer looking. I think the shoes will last the mission. (This was in response to questions by mom:)

One more thing! I´m an illegal alien!! My visa expired on September 17, 2010. I have no documents with me to show that I am here legally. I think they already took care of renewing my visa, but I am not sure. We´ll see how this goes. The only thing  I can´t do right now is get on an airplane, so I am going to be in Manaus for a while.

Love you all! Have a splendiforous week!

-Elder Tenney


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week #52: ONE YEAR!

Dear People who are far away,

27 March 2010

It´s been a while. One year in fact. Doesn´t really seem like that long. It´s strange to think that besides the mission I don't think I have ever been away from home more than 10 days, and away from a family member more than a week. Oh well, I live with it.

So, this week was a little slow. The bishop cancelled our devotional we had planned last minute, (at sacrament meeting over the pulpit actually), without letting anyone else know, just because he had an interview with the stake president. I wonder why he has two councilors... kind of killed our start of the week spirit.
"Brazilian Oreos" - Black Power from Dallas!
Black power was just a bunch of cheap oreos. They say black power for the hairstyle of an afro here. Funny stuff.
11 September 2010

We found one of the investigators the missionaries were working with before the area was closed and he might get baptized soon. We just have to make sure he is doing good with the commandments. We gave a blessing to an old lady who was burning with pain all over the other day. It's really weird how we just happen to pass by and make a visit and the members say, "Elders, can you give a blessing?" Answer: Did Jesus walk on water? :)
15 September 2010
Arrival District 38-C - One Year Reunion!
15 September 2010

Today we had a one year get together from our arrival group. Sadly, Elder Owens is still in Acre, and Elder Cotten in Porto Velho, so we didn't have everyone there. But twas fun. We went to the Ponta Negra, which is the beach on the Rio Negro right next door to the Manaus Temple. The temple was so awesome! It's got all the walls and the tower is going up. It's kind of small, though. It's about the same size as our chapel back in Bloomington Hills. Maybe a little bigger. Didn't have a chance to get a pic. We played volleyball for a bit and then snapped pix. As with Elder Gannon one year ago going fishing, I am sunburnt again. At least this time it's not my feet, but my arms, legs, and face. The sun is a killer.

Oh, I forgot, we found a knife on the beach and I ended up being the sacrifice.
Unluckily, the angel didn't show up in time to stop
Elder Koehler from gorging my stomach out.
15 September 2010
There was a member who is offering to rent his house to us, air conditioning included. I only have a dying fan, and the mosquitos are eating me alive. Ants, too. AC is a miracle. So... we called to see how long the contract is on the house we are in now. The secretary said it wouldn't be good to move right now, as Mauazinho is probably going to be closed this next transfer. . . . . . . . . . . . Ouch, that´s a sucker punch to the kidneys. Looks like if the 16 Americans don't show up soon,  Elder Arruda and I are moving again. Joy... We'll see how it goes.

District 38-C - One-Year Reunion
15 September 2010
That´s it for now! Happy One Year to all of you! The most peaceful year of your life since 1990! Love you all. Hug Livvy a million and one times for me! Show Ike my picture so he knows who I am!
One Year: Wednesday, 15 September 2010