September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week #28 - Ward Party @ Presidente Figueiredo!

Hello World!

Elder Tenney's caption: "Look! The Sky!"
Probably because all he usually sees are clouds and rain.
How are you all doing? I am doing pretty well. This week has been one of the longest weeks of the mission so far for me. I´ll just leave it at I am learning to love my companion.

So, here I am, in the same area, with a very small teaching pool. Elder Martins just turned Senior Companion this transfer, so I am his first junior. Thing is, he told me he doesn’t much like to lead/command, so I end up doing some of the decision making these days. It has been quite a while since I have had a real conversation in English. One week for that matter. There is an American in my district; name is Elder Smith from California. He is fresh out of the CTM, so it was weird to see how far I had come with Portuguese after talking with him at the district meeting on Monday. I remember making the same kind of errors and stuff. With a Brazilian, it is really awesome to see just how much the learning process speeds up with the language. You are forced to use it for every little thing during the day.

So, this last Monday, because we had a small teaching pool, we dedicated a few hours to just making contacts in the road in the neighborhood of Armando Mendes. You can Google that if you want. It’s kind of funny; you can see my area from home. All the roads and stuff.

24 February 2010: Elder Tenney says: "The one of the statue mud looking thing is in the city center.
It is a real person. If you put a coin in the pedestal in front of him he will move around for you."

This last Sunday was really cool. Eduardo, one of our recent converts, received the Aaronic and Mel. Priesthoods. Fabio is going to get it after conference. He would have received it this last Sunday, but he was out of town and didn’t arrive until way early in the morning on Sunday and was just flat out tired. Oh! I am so excited for Conference! It starts at noon here, so that means there is only a 2 hour difference from Manaus and Utah! Sweet beans!

One thing I am looking forward to this transfer is that it is only a 5 week transfer. It will end the end of April, Day 27 I think. I am definitely ready to see a new part of Manaus now.

(In response to his brother's request for information about Brazil for a school project):  I don´t know recipes. I live in the poor area. All I eat is Oreo-type cookies, yogurt, rice beans and chicken with spaghetti noodles.

 20 January 2010: Bread Store Elder Tenney frequents.

 18 Nov. 2009: "Porpoise" sculpture - Manaus
27 March 2010: Manaus - "Untitled Art"
...aka "I'm speechless...."
I just finished reading the book, Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. I started it when Elder Gannon was here, and I stopped reading it when the transfers came. I had packed it away while Elder Seastrand was here, but I took it out last week and finished the last few chapters. It is a huge ginormous book! It’s just packed with information, too!

Also, I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese. I am currently at As Palavras de Mórmon. (Words of Mormon)

I completely forgot last week to say something immensely important: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE! I loved it tons. Somehow I still have jerky, but all the fruit snacks are gone already. They were extremely delicious. Translation: THANK YOU!!

This week, we just marked 2 baptismal dates and another wedding. Unfortunately, the wedding with one of the dates is going to have to be during the next transfer, so I don´t know if I will be here or not.

27 March 2010: Scenery on way to Ward party
27 March 2010: Elder Tenney Fighting off a Jungle Animal on His Way to the Ward Party
Now for the fun stuff of the week. This last Saturday our ward had a day long ward activity. It was a bus trip into the interior to a place called Presidente Figueiredo. Yes, I have many pictures. It was so cool. There was a river with some very small rapids and a beach and a giant soccer field and stuff. My camera almost got destroyed because I started sinking into some mud and had my camera in my hand and I fell over and caught myself, but unfortunately with the hand that had the camera, so it got a bit submerged in water. It shorted out the rest of the day. (It’s better now. I dried it out and it works perfectly again.) So I took some pictures from Elder Martins. It was really fun. It was a 3 hour bus trip to the North of Manaus, on the way to Boa Vista. I was really in the Amazon for a day.

27 March 2010: Swimming Hole @ Ward party @ Presidente Figueiredo

27 March 2010: Are there piranhas in there??
One of the other Elders that lives next door to us has a chess board, and we have played one game a night for the past few weeks. Up until now, I am the undefeated champion and king of the nerds. Kidding, Elder Seastrand won once. I´m just king of the nerds.

We tried again last night to set a baptismal date for Joseneire, but he is still a little unsure. Please pray for him. I hope conference this weekend helps him.

Well, I guess that’s all for this week. I´ll just send some pictures to finish things up.

27 March 2010: He really WAS in the Amazon jungle
for a day!

Eu vós amo. Love y’all.

2 Timothy 1:4

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week #27: Apostolic Visit and Transfers?!

(Elder Tenney sent us a memo he received in Portuguese with the following news...)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is coming to Manaus April 20th!

(Cool!  Another St. George native in Brazil:)  Elder Tenney will get to go see him at a special conference!

Then answer to several questions by his dad....)

On any given day, I think I walk about 5-10 miles.

The church is right around the corner from our house, so it's a nice 3-5 minute walk. A very slow walk. All the members live far away though for some reason.

Buses are constantly passing our house. It costs R$2.10 for a regular bus, and 3 for a fancy one.

Brazilian Money

Brazilian Reais
Language Skills... Sometimes I understand. Sometimes I don´t. I have a church vocabulary, so any conversations that are about churchy stuff: I´m there. Soccer and other things, still getting there. I am in the mode where I don´t have an English accent, but I don't have a Portuguese accent, either. I am just in the transition where right now I am hard to understand in any language. (kidding)

The temple of Manaus... Let's see.. I haven't been there since the day I arrived in Manaus with my arrival group. Supposedly, the foundation is done now and they are starting to put up the walls! It will be completed around January of 2012.

 (And now, his big email of the week...)

Beautiful Castanheira Sunset - March 2010

Well, we just had transfers yesterday, and I am in a place I was not expecting for this transfer. Any guesses? Anyone? If you said, oh, he stayed in the same area, you got it right!!
That´s right, I stayed in Castanheira. Elder Seastrand went off to the interior for the third time in his mission. Technically, anything outside of the city of Manaus is the interior. He actually went to a pretty big city. He is in Boa Vista in the state of Roraima(?). It's to the north of Manaus.

I have a new companion here. His name is Elder Martins. And here is a fun fact. He is a Brazilian! He comes from São Paulo. Pretty cool. As of right now, there are no Americans anywhere around me. I think in my district there is one other American, but he just got here from the CTM and I haven´t met him yet. It´s going to be nothing but Portuguese for 6 weeks.

This will be my fourth transfer in this area, which means I will have 6 months when this one is over just in this area. (8 months total.)

I got the big package yesterday. The thing is, I had to go claim it at the post office because it had valuables. They opened up the box while I was there to see what it had in it. There is a 60% fee of the total value of all electronics. Thankfully, the lady there just opened up one side, looked in, saw the football, and sealed it back up and said, you can go. Good thing the ipod was in the duck tape. I almost had to pay a hefty fee for the box. (Future reference, you can just put "Missionary Supplies" I think.)
The Big Package

Thank you so much to Jess for putting that together! It saved my life! MuSiC!! Suddenly, I am a happy camper with all of the toys.

I also got a few letters, too. I have about 7-8 dollar bills now, so thank you very much. I think that should be enough.

I started opening letters and it was funny because I got the Valentine's Day card the same time as the St. Patty´s day. I also got one from dad, and the one Mom wrote up in SLC.

Elder Seastrand, Janderson, Elder Tenney
20 March 2010
Janderson's Baptism Day: 20 March 2010

We had a baptism of a man named Janderson this last Saturday. It was a miracle that he got baptized. I really have no idea how it happened. He was unsure of whether he wanted to do it and then one day we went there and he was all, " I´m ready for this." Elder Seastrand and I were elated. Janderson had to overcome a lot of addictions. He is 23 right now, and the other day he said he might go serve a mission next year. He has a girlfriend and a little boy. The boy is from adoption, though, so he is good to go for next year I think. . .

I am a little preoccupied with how this transfer is going to go. This is the first transfer for Elder Martins to be the Senior Companheiro, so he is in the position where he has to decide how he is going to run the ship. He is 24 right now and has 13 months in the mission. Before the mission he had a stroke, so now he is a bit wobbly on his feet and it takes him a while to process things, but he is really really awesome. Supposedly, he makes really excellent home-made ice cream. YAY!
Ok, Special Moment Story Time Part:


So, about 50 days ago or so, Elder Seastrand and I ran into a guy who had many many many problems. He called us off the road to come talk to him, and it was easy to tell he was super drunk.  He had a bunch of really strange tattoos, too. He told us he also used some pretty strong drugs like meth and cocaine and all that junk. He also told us he was a Satanist. He told us about times when Satan would come in dreams to him and tell him to do things and tempt him with stuff. All in all, he was in really bad shape. So during the conversation, I felt prompted to give him a Book of Mormon and I said that if he read it, he would find help with his problems. We booked it out of there and didn´t go back because he was like super crazy scary person.

The last day Elder Seastrand was here in the area, we ran into this same guy on the street on the way home for the day. He seemed to be slightly different. He told us he had been reading the "Book of the Mormons" and that somehow, he had found the strength to "throw off Satan". He had stopped using the drugs and stuff. (I think.) He still drank a little, but it really did show that he had more control over his thoughts and actions. All just from reading in the Book of Mormon.


Anyway, these next 6 months I plan on doing some very hard core study. I just finished reading that new Gospel Principles book that came out this year. (In Português) (Princípios do Evangelho) I understood practically all of it. I think this transfer I am going to be speaking much better than I have been. (Pray for me.)

(We always are....)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week #26: Happy St. Patrick's Day - Six Month Mark!

Elder Tenney celebrated his 6 month mark on his mission with a "Burn The Tie" ceremony last night.  He wasn't very newsy this week in his emails to us - think maybe he was up late.  The photo of him in the "green room" was taken this morning.

The blow dart was pretty fun. I burned a tie to honor my 6 months out.
 It was hashed up and gross, so it was throw out or burn, so...
"Let the Games Begin!"
"Burn the Tie" - Happy 6-Months Milestone, Elder 10-e!"
"But Don't Burn the Tie in Your Apartment!!!"

Elder Tenney: Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Happy Six Months!

(From email to his brother):  How are you doing? I am oh sooo good. It has been 6 months now since I last played a video game, so, surprise! Hahaha, never thought that would happen, did ya?

In Brazil, there are like 20 different types of bananas here in the Amazon. There are also a lot of fruits like
cupuaçu, açai, gioaba, and so many more. Most of the time people here just eat rice and beans, though.

The big stuff going on right now is everyone here is preparing for the World Cup in 2014. It's going to be a huge event for the people here.

The ç thing is called a c-seh-jill-ee-uh or something like that. It just makes the "s" sound. It looks scary, but it's not.

It's illegal to own a gun here unless you are on the police force. It is required for everyone to be in the military for one year, usually at the age of 18. It's possible to sign out of it, though, if you have money or a reason. There is a power plant on the southern end of the country that almost half the country is dependent on. I think I said something about it going out while I was in the CTM. All of São Paulo was without power. It was crazy!

Élder Tenney

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week #25: I Am Not Homesick

(from March 10 Email to Mom)

Oh wow, you are going to Texas? Sounds fun! (You´re going to Texas without me?? What is this??) That´s nice that Eddie sent a package. (YES! YES! YES! YES! HE IS AWESOME!!!) Oh yeah, I think Jess told me that Ally has a minivan now. (HAHAHA Ally drives a minivan? It has begun!)

(Are you really writing?) The most recent letters I got were from the end of January and beginning of February this last week. (What is wrong with the mail service? There are dying missionaries here!)

I am not homesick. (Just when I read about it. Then I start to think about home and then starts the waterworks. No, just kidding. But still.) I am going to have my six months mark next p-day. (Burn the tie! Burn the tie!)

It´s so amazing to see the change the gospel has brought to just these few peoples lives that I have come in contact with.  It really is amazing to see all the miracles the Lord has done in just this short amount of time while I have been here.

Official Missionary Papers
I hope you and the younglings have a great time in Texas. (Don´t let Livvy get dragged away by any small rodents.)

Yes, I am more careful with the fans these days. (It is going to be one sick nasty scar if I am lucky.) I didn´t realize they were cow intestines until I asked why the meat was so chewy to Elder Seastrand. (I am definitely scarred from that.)

(from March 10 Email to Dad)

The New Myldsmail is based off of Google now, so everything is a lot better. It's still a bit slow sometimes, but it's good.

This week we have stake conference at the stake center. This should be interesting. There are five wards (4 and a branch) in this stake (Solimões). I don't know whether to expect a lot of people or hardly any there.

Can you send me Steve´s address?

Sounds like you guys are having a fun time! (Without me... :P ) I remember seeing Elder Steck in the CTM. It was pretty cool. Has Jared B. left for his mission yet? Did he get his visa in time? What's his mission home address?

For the most part, all of the people I have helped along the path of life through the gospel of Jesus Christ are staying strong and working on the last step of Enduring to the End.

Hope you are having a swell week. Everything done be good here.

(March 10 Email w/photos)

Going to central again today. Hopes y'alls done be havings a goods olds times!

These are pretty much just pictures of my area. A part of it anyway. There are 4-5 neighborhoods and I think I only got 2 in these pictures. It's cool how the chapel sticks out of the trees...

East Manaus Neighborhood

Find the Steeple

Elder Tenney's Area

Love you all.

Have a great week. I will try to take a good good good picture. I hopes.

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Week #24: Fabio & Suelen baptisms!

No major disasters here. (As in earthquakes) Just thunderstorms and burning sun at the same time. Jessica is going to Haiti?? whoa....

"X-Tudao":  One of Elder 10-e's Favorite Foods in Manaus


Multi vitamins? What are those? Kidding, but seriously, I don't have them. I eat lots of fruit and stuff. If members don't feed us we go buy a lunch somewhere. It's really annoying because it eats into our money hard core. If you just sent the big box it will take a couple months to get to me. It could get to the mission in a month or so, but to me will be a while.
Elder Seastrand, Suelen, Fabio, Elder Tenney

Work is going really good. We baptized a Married Couple - Fabio and Suelen, and another man of 27 - Eduardo, last Friday. It was really really really really really good! We have a baptism of another man in a couple of weeks, too.
Elder Tenney, Eduardo, Elder Seastrand
Rosa (Returned Missionary) & Eduardo
Well, I think that pretty much answers your email. Now for the list I have. I hope this email sends. The internet is being stupid here right now...
Rip rolls are amazing. Love them to pieces.
I went on a division with my Zone leaders this last Monday. Divisions last for 24 hours, so I had to sleep over at their house in a hammock. Yay... my back hurt a lot in the morning, and I only slept about 2 hours.
Now for the sad event: I almost lost one of my fingers the other day. I was laying in a hammock at our house and I reached out to turn the fan a little and my finger went into a part where there wasn't a wire protector thingy and my middle finger on my left hand got whacked a few times by this metal fan going at full speed. It shot blood everywhere. It was awesome! Neosporin and a band-aid later and I don't think I need stitches. It is super hard to type though.
Elder Tenney says: "See what I found!" far away in the Amazon!
(His dear friends from St. George - The Andersens- in the Liahona)

Wow, sounds like everyone is going out now!  (re mission farewells) It is really weird. When Sam P. gets here, I will have about 10 months. When Elder Seastrand goes home, I will have a year and the Christensen twins will be home. I can just kind of mark the big events from when other missionaries come and go. The mission is almost over and I am still in my first area!
Elder Tenney - Looks like he might be a little wet??
I went into Central last week and we went to a store where you can buy stuff in bulk. I bought a kilo of cereal and ate it in less than a week. It's gone already.... sad day...
Well, we kind of burned the field of our investigators with these baptisms. We got to go hunt the elects out of hiding.

This week just went by really really really fast. That was pretty much our week in a nutshell. 


"Another cool building I thought looked cool...don't know what it is."

We walked out to the edge of our area last Saturday to contact a reference and we couldn't find the house number. I think we went where no other missionary has gone before in this area. Maybe. This is a pretty old area, so I don't know. . .
Elder Tenney Found this Turtle in their Backyard
I have a funny tan line on my neck now from the white shirts.

I am doing good. I need to start doing some crunches or something. I have a belly now. I can actually grab fat. I used to just be skin and bones! Now I am skin, bones and belly!

"Amazon at the Port"
That's a whole lotta watta.....