September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Week #32 - Part 2: Natives of the Acre State of Brazil

(Editor "Mom 10-e": Please don't miss Elder Tenney's Weekly E-Mail Post which follows this posting and is titled "Week #32".
Just click on the post title "Week #32" to open the full text and read his latest exciting news - THANKS!

The following information was from an article on the web. I remember reading this a year or so ago. WoW!)

These remarkable pictures of Envira Indians were taken by Brazilian government officials during several flights over a remote part of Brazil's Acre state.


Painted a bright orange, two members of the tribe emerged from their huts to threaten the helicopter as it flew low over their small village.

"We did the over-flight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,' said Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles, an expert on "uncontacted" tribes, who works for the Brazilian government's Indian affairs department.

"This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence."

Mr Meirelles said the tribe lived in six small communities, each with about six communal houses, in an area known as the Terra Indigena Kampa e Isolados do Envira, close to the Peru border.

In spite of the threat of the encroaching world, the number of Envira Indians is thought to be increasing, Mr Meirelles said.

But other "uncontacted" groups on the Peruvian side of the border, who have also been photographed by experts, were being pushed from their homes by illegal logging.

This could lead to conflict between the displaced tribes and an estimated 500 Indians already living on the Brazilian side, he said. Indians were also susceptible to contracting diseases from outsiders.

"What is happening in this region (of Peru) is a monumental crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the civilised ones, treat the world," Mr Meirelles said.

Survival International, a group London-based group which defends the rights of tribal people, estimates there are more than 100 remaining isolated indigenous tribes worldwide, with more than half in either Peru or Brazil.

"These pictures are further evidence that uncontacted tribes really do exist," said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International.

"The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct."

Week #32: What does this week have in store? (LONG POST!)

Dear Family,

How are you all doing? I’m doing pretty well.  I forgot to bring my journal with me to the LAN house, so I will try to remember Elder Holland. It was really mostly about not leaving the church when the hard times come. He used the Mark 4 boat story with the storm. It was cool. That was the fireside the night before the missionary meeting. With the missionaries it was about the importance of the mission for the rest of your life. I promise I will note down stuff in my planner next time to write.

What’s this I hear about a Health Reform bill being passed?

To answer one of Dad’s questions I got in a letter, Easter is more of a religious holiday with a heavy Catholic influence here. It is mainly focused on the crucifixion. They show the Passion of Christ movie on TV. (No, I didn’t watch it.)

Yes, I have been using both pairs of my shoes. I think one of my legs is slightly longer than the other, because my left shoes seem to be getting all the wear and tear on the bottoms. There is a certain boot dress shoe type thing that most of the other missionaries here buy. I will probably get one of those when I have had enough. Tell Sam P. to get waterproof! I lined the inside underneath the insole with duck tape and I haven’t had a problem with water since. It’s only been a week, but that’s really good.

So, now the BIG fun part of the weekly update: TRANSFERS!

Elder Tenney has transferred from Manaus in the Amazonas state (see upper north-central map) to  a small city of about 19,000 called Senador Guiomard in the area of Rio Branco in the state of Acre (northwest area below Amazonas, bordering Peru & Bolivia)

So, I am still here in Castanheira with Elder Martins.  This sentence is false. This sentence is true I got transferred! We got the phone call on Saturday, and some fun stuff came for me. I had to have a weight limit of 23 kilos. This means get an airplane to a different state! I had to leave 3 boxes of stuff in the staff building. I only had a 20 kilo suitcase when I got to the airport. I didn’t know… I kinda wish I had brought some other stuff. I brought mostly clothes and the electronic stuff. I left my English Preach My Gospel and English Scriptures and everything in English. It’s a learn it or die for me now. I am actually reading pretty well now.

Last Days in Castanheira

Elder Tenney's Basic Lunch: Elder Martins threw up after this one:)
26 April 2010

Looks like Brazilian "Capri Suns"
22 April 2010

Visits to those he taught & baptized & their families

 25 April 2010: Suelen, Geovana, Fabio
26 April 2010: Ana Paula, Joseana, Granny

26 April 2010: Elders Smith, Tenney, Amorim, Tinti, Martins, & Nassim
So, I got to the staff building in Alvorada Monday morning, and the transfer meeting was starting at 8. One of the secretaries came to me and said, “You need to get a taxi to the airport right now. Your flight leaves in 2 hours.” I didn’t know where I was going or who my new companion was going to be. I asked, but the secretaries all forgot. I heard one say Elder Fortes or Fox or something. Started with an F. Later, found out I was going to the state of ACRE! This is part of the mission that was added on last year. It was part of Missão Brasil Manaus, switched over with the other state of Rondonia to Missão Brazil Curitiba? And then last year switched back to Brazil Manaus mission.

I weighed myself with my suitcase at the staff building. 20.8 kilos suitcase, 70 kilos Elder Tenney.  (154 lbs. ! He has GAINED about 20 lbs. from when he left home in September!  Super!)  Oh, by the way, I am going to get a big chunk out of personal soon. The money situation comes a little different because I am so far away, so the reimbursements take 2-4 weeks. That's a big chunk of money. When it comes, all will be fine, but until then...

So, I had seat number 24D. There are. . . 24 rows on the plane. I sat in the back next to the emergency supplies and I snapped a picture of the cabinet storage area thing. I was a bit worried... Jungle survival kit?!? LoL:)

27 April 2010
?Jungle Survival Kit? on Transfer plane to Acre
There was a magazine with a map of Brazil and all the flights the Airlines GOL makes. You can see the route I took from Manaus to Porto Velho (southwest) to Rio Branco (more to the west and a bit south). The next one over to the west is Cruzeiro do Sul on the Peruvian border. 

Porto Velho in Rondonia from the air - Step one in transfer to Acre
27 April 2010

Rio Branco Airport in Acre Brazil
27 April 2010
So, the flight had to go to Porto Velho in Rondonia first, then to Rio Branco in Acre. Now I have been to 4 states in Brazil. (São Paulo, Amazonas, Rondonia and Acre.) My teacher in the CTM always joked around saying that there are no people who live in Acre. Just wild animals like tigers and onças and crocodiles. He was right. There are very few people here. It's really cut off from the rest of the country.

(Editor "Mom":  I gleaned this from the internet: 
"Acre is in the far west side of Brazil, covered by the Amazon forest. Difficulties of access and tough living conditions cause the State to be scarcely populated; more than half of population is concentrated on only two cities, the capital Rio Branco and Cruzeiro do Sul; extractivism of natural resources (particularly rubber) is the main economic occupation.
Rivers are the main means of transportation. Almost all cities were built by the banks of a river; roads between smaller cities are often non-existant or are in very bad conditions; moving between them can take several days of walking (during the wet seasons, cities are completely isolated).

Public Health infrastructure is very poor. Only Rio Branco has piped water, and no city in Acre (including Rio Branco) has a sewage system. Disenteria and malaria are main causa mortis of children."

What a lovely place...)

So my companion, he is American. We are the only couple of missionaries in the State of Acre that is two Americans. All the others are 1 American, 1 Brazilian. Oh, his name is Elder Fox from Las Vegas. He has just 3 months left until he goes home. He has been here in Acre since August. He served in the area we are in now first, then got switched around to all the others and is back here. He looks kind of like the Wainwright twins to me. Just a bit.
Elder Tenney's new companion - Elder Fox from Las Vegas NV

So... My area: It has been closed for the past couple of transfers due to the lack of missionaries coming in. Elder Fox was in a different area last transfer, so there is a teaching pool of 0. Thankfully, from what I have seen in the last day and a half, the ward is pretty strong and excited to do work. I am just thankful it’s a ward. It’s a small chapel, though. It might *just* qualify as a ward. I really like it here. There are no hills at all. Some things are a bit more expensive, though. Oh, before I forget, it’s called Senador Guiomard.

The house: That’s right, this time I have a house. A bit bigger than my last apartment. The Zone Leaders have a giant house with two floors and many rooms. I think there are 6 missionaries there. Elder Fox and I live out in a municipal outside of the capital Rio Branco. The taxi from the airport to all the areas and dropping off people was R$165 (paid by the mission). Yeah, we live far. There are only two other areas further than mine from the Mission office in Manaus, out in the next city. My last district leader got transferred out to one of them. It's in the next city of Cruzeiro do Sul on the Peru Border. He had to wait on the plane for a 3rd flight to get there.

Here is our house. I haven't taken anything of the area yet, but it is really really flat and muddy. Lots of bikes. Oh, by the way, the pictures of the house are after we had cleaned. I didn't want to see it dirty again, so I didn't take any before shots. Believe me, it was a nightmare. Just one small fan for now, but we will buy another one next week.      

Not even the local people here know the names of the roads here. Everything is done by reference point.

Elder Tenney's 1st Abode in Senador Guiomard - Acre
27 April 2010

Elder Tenney's Kitchen in Senador Guiomard - Acre
27 April 2010

Elder Tenney's Bed in Senador Guiomard - Acre
27 April 2010
Oh, the house! So, since nobody was in it for the last 3 months, there were a bunch of spiders! AAAAUUUGGGHHH!!! And the missionaries who were here last left everything dirty like the dishes and just everything. We already deep cleaned once and it’s a lot better now. We just need to buy some bug killer to get rid of the giant spiders. They just knock the shoes out of our hands. No, I’m kidding, not that big, but still… Also, there were 2 energy bills to pay from the months that didn’t have anyone that total to R$175, but we cleared that out with the landlord already. My last area didn’t have utility bills, but this one does. A lot of them do, actually. We get reimbursed for this kind of stuff, thankfully.

Oh, and all of my clothes are holding up fine. We have a washing machine here that we have to partially hand wash, but we should be getting a new one within the next month. This area is going to be goooooooooood.

Oh, I do know one thing about the last missionary that was here. He had to go to the hospital because he got sick a lot in this area. They did a blood test and it was 52% bacteria in his blood. Then the nurse accidently pulled out the vein in his hand. All during this time, the guy in the next bed was already dead. I am really excited now. Such amazing adventures.

Hope you are all having a great time. I am waiting for President to give the all clear signal on the phone calls, and then I will update you as soon as possible. Sometimes missionaries just have to call home really fast to give the number, then hang up, then the family calls back.

Send munchies, like jerky and gummy things. Acre is a little cooler, and I think chocolate can handle it. Somehow, last year during July it got down to 15 degrees Celsius. One of the elders said he worked in his suit coat the entire day once, the only time on the mission. Too bad I left mine in the staff building.

Oh, Lamisil, too. 3 tubes. I just have enough for another week, I think, then I have a couple different things I got from the doctor in the CTM that kind of work.

I have hot water in the shower now! I just had 5 months of only cold water. I’m saved!

In order to answer the pleas of a worried mother, I am looking for pictures I have of me.

By the way, all of these photos are at Presidente Figuerado (I don't remember how to spell it) from the ward activity last transfer.
Bus Ride to Ward Activity
27 March 2010

Scary Bus Ride?? Elder Tenney says the driving is crazy in Manaus.
27 March 2010

Elder Tenney having fun @ Ward Activity
27 March 2010

Elder Tenney in blue next to Elder Martins in red
Ward Activity @ Presidente Figuerado
27 March 2010

Woops! Elder Tenney dropped his camera in the mud....
27 March 2010
Sad....but the camera turned out fine after it dried out. :)
27 March 2010
Now I am done. The Lan house here is $R1.50 per hour so it's a bit more expensive here. The computers are better and faster, though. Just a bit.
I had to leave all my letters in a box in the staff. Please conserve paper and space. Write two letters in the same envelope or something. Maybe three. And don't send a box until we talk on Mom day. Love you all. Send Hershey kisses! That's what I need! Yes! Brain Blast! (Jimmy Neutron) The white chocolate oreo type! And a bag of caramel filled. And a bag of raspberry- (I think it was snozberry actually (Willy Wonka) -filled. I am actually quite hungry right now, so I am just asking for food. The white chocolate oreo if you only send one. Thanks.

I love you all a bunch. Hope ya know that!

I love you, mom. Don’t worry too much. I’m having a blast.
Elder Tenney leaving his mark in the Amazon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week #31: Visit to Manaus by Elder Holland & Company!

Hello Everyone in the land of . . . Dryness!

Things are a little wet these last few days. I have duck tape on the bottom of my shoes to patch them up, because water just seems to like to get in there and give me athlete's foot. (This is why I am always asking for Lamisil.) Tell Elder Poulton to get water-proof shoes. At least one pair. And 1 nice pair for the dry season. The soles in my shoes are wearing down at an accelerated rate of fastness. Whatever that means…

So, I prepared a full out 3-4 hour English class for this last week, and we had it all set up with desks and chalkboard and everything in the chapel and… it rained. And! Only one person came. Yay!...... we are going to try again this Saturday.  Maybe.

I have been ready to leave this area this transfer. I have been living out of my suitcase, so I´m pretty much all packed up and ready to go. Thing is, our house flooded again from the washing machine, so the suitcase got soaked and all the stuff in the bottom 1/3. So I had to unpack everything and hang it out to dry. I think this is the Lord saying, “Ok, I´ll let you get transferred this time, but you cannot pack early, alright?” :p

I have a large fund of money to my name. R$1.05. I feel so rich and secure and… hungry. My companion doesn’t know how to budget, so as of right now he owes me R$30, and I have R$70 coming in reimbursements from water and medicine. Over the next month I should receive in all about R$300 or so, and tomorrow I´ll get 130 of it, so it's just a little wait. (Need not worry.  R$1 can go a long way if you know how to spend it right. Bread is super cheap.)

I think it's about a 1.5 Kilometer walk just to get out into our main neighborhood (Armando Mendes) where we work.

In August, it's supposed to get up to 45 Celsius without rain for a couple months.

Visit to the Manaus Brazil Mission - April 20-21, 2010 by
Bishop Edgley, Elder Godoy, President Jayme, and Elder Holland
(They didn't have time to take a photo with all of us separately, but we all received an email with a couple of general photos for us to remember.)

Elder Holland was amazing. I am running out of money in my account, so this may be really cut short. I went to the fireside for members and we had a missionary-only session this morning. Last night, Elder Godoy burned the people kind of. He said how there is going to be 7 temples in Brazil, the members have to be more responsible now. More family history so that they can have Brazilian names to do instead of Smiths and what not. More Silvas and Dos Santos. He also killed the complaints of Brazilians how they don’t send more Brazilians to other countries. He said that the missionary force in Brazil is still more than half Americans, so Brazil needs to have enough missionaries to support it's own country before sending out to others. He said some other things, but that’s all I remember.

Elder Holland changed his talk last minute and it was amazing. I don’t have my notes with me, but maybe I will give better details next week. He spoke of hard times in life, and how when a child dies or there are marriage problems, this is when you need the church the most, not the time to leave. … “DON’T YOU DARE! EVER! LEAVE THIS CHURCH! NEVER SAY THAT GOD DOESN’T LOVE YOU! NEVER SAY "Oh, why did my child have to die? I guess the church isn’t true. God doesn’t love me…” It was strong and amazing. He has such an amazing testimony of the Atonement. And the life of Christ.

President & Sister Jayme w/Sister Patricia
and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Visit to Manaus Brazil - April 20-21, 2010

This morning, we also had Bishop Edgley speak to us. We shook all their hands. Elder Holland asked, “Where are you from?” Me -"St. George." Him - "Oh! The Tenney´s from St. George!" Me - "Do you know Brother Doug Pearce?" Him -"Why, yes! We are lifelong friends!" Me -"He is in my ward." (I forgot to mention I was his home teacher.  How is he doing by the way? How is Sister Thayn? Tell her I said "HI!" and I miss her.)  And then I moved on.
Bishop Edgley gave a really good talk on how the missionary work is different today than it was in the past.

Elder Holland spoke about a lot of things. Especially how every day he uses his mission to help make decisions. Did you know it took 7 years to make the Preach My Gospel book? He said a lot of profound things. More details to come next week!

I got 11 letters over the past week and I have been dying for p-day to come! Yay! I got one from the Christensens! It is so crazy how Teren and Tyson are almost home!

I had to give a talk this last Sunday. (It was 11 minutes without much stopping on how to know if you are a successful missionary).  After, the president of the elders quorum asked me if I turned senior companion because it looks like I am the one guiding the boat here in the area with all the attitudes and teaching difference.  I will take that as a compliment and just wait for the day I am not the junior.

Well, time is running out. I need to buy some food today, so this is the end of the letter for now. Love you all. Please send:

• Peanut butter

• Lamisil

• Olivia

• Candy of a gummy nature like dots and sour patch and the rip rolls were amazing by the way!

• Jerky

• Jerky

• Ummm, I'm not in much of a need for anything really. I think I will have to leave stuff behind when I am finally transferred from this area (maybe this week).

Anywho, Love you all! TCHAU!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Week #30 & Day #200: Ups & Downs


How are all of you doing? It has been a while since I sent anything I guess. I is sorry for this. This last week or so have been really rocky with me and my companion. It started out with small things, one big thing, and then it went spirally-roller-coaster downhill from there. Thankfully, with the help of President Jayme through emails and the transfer interview, things are getting better now, and I think now, at the end of the transfer, we are actually starting to work again.
Solimoes Stake Center

Evening @ at the Solimoes Stake Center
Priesthood Session in English - Hurray for Technology!

So anyway, Conference was super awesome! I especially liked the talk on Patience that President Uchtdorf gave! That Saturday was day 200 on the mission for me, so that was pretty cool. Not much happened the last week that I didn’t say very much. I watched Conference in English with 3 other Americans. We played a game in between sessions called Settlers of Zarahemla, which is the Mormon version of Settlers of Catan. Sweetness. 

I got the package from EDDIE!!!

(THANKS, Eddie!!!
from both Elder Tenney & Mitch's Mom:)
It was filled with wonderful goodness that saved my life over these past couple of weeks! I have need to write letters to many people.  It's just so hard to find time. I have one for Sam ready to be sent off, but it has been a while since we went to the Correiros. (Post Office).

I also got a letter from Josh the other day. He is still the crazy man child I remember. I need to write a lot of letters….

Fast Sunday was pretty good. The ward leaders don’t know that since we had conference, the next Sunday should have been fast and testimony meeting, so I was all excited to bear my testimony this last Sunday and… it was a regular Sunday. Oh, I have to give a talk next week. yay…
Elder Tenney's Study Area

Everything he needs....
So, as of right now, I am an English teacher. We are starting up an English class to find more investigators and stuff. I am really excited to do this. I am thinking that if I can organize this class really well over the next few transfers, I will have an effective English class I can teach in 6 weeks every transfer. Also, to teach English using Portuguese, I have to know how to explain it in Portuguese, so my vocabulary is growing like crazy during the prep time I have.

We have some “moley” (lazy, or not fulfilling their part-I forgot the word-in Portuguese it's "compromissos") investigators. We will have to cut two families this next Sunday if no one goes to church, because these people I have been teaching since Elder Seastrand, and they still haven’t gone yet. We are giving them plenty of chances, but every week is the same. 2 of the people have baptism dates that we have to change now if we keep teaching.

Overall, it's all been pretty tranquilo here in Castanheira. We got a new cell phone from the mission, so that was cool. No word yet on Mother's Day.  I will ask President Jayme next week after the fireside with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. (Next week, 20 and 21 of April).

Speaking of which, yesterday, I got the H1N1 Vaccine. 13/April/2010.  It was free!

07 April 2010
Some of the American elders in Manaus East and North Zones
Hope you are all having a marvelous time!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Week #29 - Without purse or scrip

Hey, We went and played basketball today and didn't take a bus anywhere because we were poor so today has been a long walk in the rain. I am sorry, but p day ends in 10 minutes and I just got to the lan house and have to email president. I promise I will send a big fat email next week with all the conference goodies. I am very sorry. Love you all!
(Mom's Note -  aka reminder to self - from D & C 84:78,80:  "For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip... And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed.  And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.")