September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Week #36: The News - Straight Up....

First off, Oh, how I wish I could say hi to Mr. Lister! He is the man.
23 May 2010: We hear the bananas are delicious in Brazil :p
Anyways, Hello Family!
News Flash! I wrote letters! I´ll get them in the mail asap. Sam has something coming his way that has very important information that must be sent back. Watch for it!

23 May 2010: Elders Tenney & Fox @ casa do Samuel

I don´t know what order to go in… I think I´ll tell the story of why my email is coming so late today.

23 May 2010: Lidiane & Adriana @ Lidiane's Baptism

First off: We had our first baptism of the transfer this last Sunday. There is a recent convert named Adriana, 16, who has 15 brothers and sisters, 4 stepfathers, and a mom. Her mom, Enedina, couldn’t have kids at first, and had adopted 4 kids. Later, she had a surgery and had 12 more. We started teaching there first thing four weeks ago and some of her moved out children around town too. One of them, surprisingly, was baptized a long time ago. Nobody in the family knew. He fell away a long time ago, but we are trying to get him to come back. Anyways, after four weeks, the next child after Adriana, Lidiane (14), was baptized. It was after stake conference, so we just had the baptism and she will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost next Sunday. It was cool, because we went there to visit on Monday night and we didn’t even have to ask about going to church this Sunday.  Lidiane just said, “Eu vou receber o dom do Espírito Santo esse Domingo.” (I will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost this Sunday.) It´s like she knows…

Anyways, the sad part about this. Why I am only just now emailing. We went into Rio Branco today to have a small zone party with a bbq and stuff. Around 2:30, we got a phone call from the bishop.

23 May 2010: Bispo Lima, Lidiane, Adriana
He said, “You need to come back. Adriana´s brother was killed this morning.” We left, got a bus and then a taxi and got there around 4. It was really sad. A lot of people were coming and going.  It was an open casket viewing in the brother´s house. (Adriano, 24, firstborn (Literally) son of Enedina.) Somebody had shot him in the back and it came out threw his stomach. It happened this morning, and he was in the coffin already and still in the same clothes. There was a bit of blood on the inside of the coffin. The police are still investigating and looking for the person who shot him. This happened in my last area, too. I don´t know if I told this or not. Anyways, this is the 2nd time someone has been shot. I hope this doesn’t become a once an area thing. So, we traded our P-Day around and went straight to the viewing. Now I´m here letting y’all know…

23 May 2010: Elder Fox, Lidiane, & Elder Tenney

We sang a hymn, (Families are Forever? I forget the name in English…) and left a message. We had already taught the family the Plan of Salvation, so we read D&C 137. Adriano was one of the few brothers we hadn’t taught yet.

The bus drivers and stuff of Rio Branco are on strike, so we couldn’t get a bus to Rio Branco this Monday for District Meeting. About 60% of the buses aren’t running right now.

We had stake conference and President Jayme spoke in the Adult Session on Saturday about Searching for your Eternal Companion. It was mainly directed towards men. He used a slide show, and I am going to try to get it from him. It's really good.

Since President Jayme came, he brought a huge stack of letters! I got like 8 letters! It was super awesome. Some of them are from just 2 weeks ago. Expect responses.

"Celebration Breakfast" (22 May 2010)

Well, we are doing good. We found some maple extract in the fridge and made maple syrup and I fried up some French toast. We’re saved! Real Food! We wouldn’t have made it, but I found R$20 in my study journal that I hid from myself when I was with Elder Martins so that I could have an emergency fund and to celebrate it we bought bread and eggs and stuff. Already had cinnamon and sugar. I had forgotten about that 20…

"What are You Looking At?" (23 May 2010)
We went back to the parrot house. It almost pooped on me. To make sure they don't fly away, the people cut off one of the wings. It's like a nail, so it doesn't have nerves and it grows back.

"Yarr.." Elders Fox & Tenney in the Middle of Pirate Talk
23 May 2010

Pray for Enedina and her family. There are 3 other kids that can get baptized this week or next week if they just accept the baptismal date. Enedina has to wait for her fiancé to get out of the slammer and get married, and then she is good to go. She says she will most definitely get baptized asap.

Pretty much my week.

Elder Mitchell Tenney - 23 May 2010

Love y’all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Week #35: 8 Months & Trip to Rondonia

Hello everyone!

How are you all doing? Thanks for the pictures of Mr. Lister! He is still the same awesome Mr. Lister that I remember. PV will never be the same without him. If anyone sees him soon tell him I say hi and thank you for all the help through the years.
Does anyone know a Brother Larkin from St. George? There is a Preach My Gospel training video that we watch in all the zone conferences and at the CTM that is called “The District” and it has some missionaries that show how to use the different parts in the PMG and stuff. The mission president in the movie is a President Larkin that looks sooooooo familiar, but I just don’t know if he is from SG or not… any ideas?

Elder Tenney calls this "Getting a little on the heavy side"
Eight Months Out - 05.18.2010
So, this last Sunday, I officially hit 8 months (1/3) in the mission. Seriously, I think I say this every week, but it is just going by too fast. They say it goes by fast when you get lost in the work, but I feel I still have room to improve in the work area. We are still working on getting a larger teaching pool.

So, it got super super hot after the cold burst. I was all ready to just burn up, and then last night another cold front came in and it’s cold again. I love Brazil.

The biggest thing that happened over the last week:  I went to Porto Velho in Rondonia for a few days! Our Zone Conference was held with a General Authority, Elder Linhares (I think he is a seventy… I didn’t really catch if he is or not.) So we stayed a couple nights in Porto Velho.  We took a plane there and back.

Airport Rio Branco (05.13.2010)

"Take Off" (05.13.2010)
"High Up" (05.13.2010)
There was a problem with some of the plane tickets, and Elder Owens, my CTM comp, had to take a bus with our Zone Leader, Elder Sabino, for 7-8 hours to Porto Velho. Then, when we were going back, since Elder Sabino’s was cancelled, it cancelled the return trip too, so he had to go back by bus. There was another elder, Elder Palmer, who had trouble getting his ticket, because his passport had expired one day before while he was in Porto Velho, so he went on the bus, too. (He had actually worked it out and got the ticket, but then Elder Sabino had trouble and yeah...)

"Whoa!" - Seen at airport (05.15.2010)

"Why on Earth did the Chicken cross the Road?!" (05.15.2010)

"Things people try to bring on planes" (05.15.2010)

President Jayme does interviews with zone conferences out here in the other states, so he won’t be coming back to do them in two weeks, so there aren’t going to be any letters or anything coming into Acre for about 4 weeks when we have transfers. Joy…

The biggest problem we are having these days with our investigators is the Word of Wisdom. Everyone in Brazil drinks coffee. Everyone. Are you a Brazilian? Coffee Drinker. Any ideas? Cigarettes, too. They are super cheap here in Quinari. Even the poorest of people here can afford them somehow.

Well, all in all, just pray that coffee will somehow be taken off the face of the planet. That is my one desire of the week.

"Washing Machine - Brazilian-style"

We are hoping for a new washing machine this Christmas or sooner from the mission. It just spins. Gotta put water in, rinse out clothes and what-not. God bless America.

We are going to have Stake Conference this Sunday. Should be pretty good. The stake here is all of Acre. Pretty big area.

We had the opportunity to give a talk in Sacrament meeting last week. It was pretty good. They mixed up the speakers, so I was the last person to talk. I was only left 5 minutes, so I wasn’t too bothered about it. The microphone in that chapel is really weak, so you have to pretty much stick your mouth right on it to pick up anything. I think that is the one reason why I always shake and stuff when I give a talk in Sacrament. I am scared of microphones. I don’t like hearing my own voice. I’m just weird that way. Sooner or later I will get over it, I guess, because in this ward the missionaries speak once a month.

"Elder Tenney in his apartment on P-Day" (05.19.2010)
The Portuguese is coming along. I feel like I am a little behind others in my group, but they have all had more than one Brazilian companion I think. Oh, well, I’ll just keep studying. I really don’t get too worried about it until the little kids say, “What did you say? I didn’t understand any of that.”

But, all in all, we are doing pretty good. We walk a lot in this area. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Love you all tons!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week #34: Mother's Day Call & Cow Calling in Brazil

Editor:  We had a wonderful 45-minute phone call on Mother's Day with Elder Tenney.  We had to call him at his bishop's house, and it took a few tries to understand the person answering on the other end.  Thanks to our son-in-law and his Spanish skills, and the fact that there was a Spanish-speaking Brazilian in the house and not just Portuguese when we called, we were able to finally understand that he & his companion were not there. Then...they walked in just as we were about to give up!  He sounds great - his sentence structure was funny sometimes as he is so used to speaking in Portuguese now.  For example, when they talk about how old someone is, they say, "he has 21 years" instead of "he is 21 years old".  Here is a picture of his study area in his new home in Acre. 

Elder Tenney's study area in Senador Guiomard
10 May 2010

He loves his new assignment in Acre and enjoys the country lifestyle there.  It is a long distance to get to some of the homes, and he walks in flooded streets a lot of the time and his feet and shoes stay soaked.  He said his diet is mostly "rice and beans" and fruit in season which right now is oranges and tangerines.  He said they are green, but ripe.  His ward has about 100 active members and the members are very nice and willing to help the missionaries and committed to keep lunch appointments to feed the missionaries.  Also, the area he is in was closed until he and Elder Fox just re-opened it this transfer.  They have a couple of baptisms scheduled. 

Elder Tenney - 05 May 2010 in Acre
Elder Fox - 05 May 2010
Elder Tenney's email this week was brief, but he did send pictures! 
Pretty Bird - 05 May 2010

Another pretty bird - 05 May 2010
He is excited that his friend Elder Poulton will soon be joining him in the Brazil Manaus mission.  Elder Poulton's visa has not arrived yet, so he will not be entering the MTC until the end of the month, and as of this post, has been re-assigned to the Provo MTC instead of the Sao Paulo CTM.  Visas are still hard to obtain for Brazil. 

Now, from Elder Tenney...12 May 2010 Email:

Dear Mom and family,
This p-day was really hard to get into the lan house.

Early morning bus ride to the farm on p-day
12 May 2010
12 May 2010: The farm
We went out to a farm way out of town to spend the day with a member family.
It was pretty relaxing.

Elder Tenney on the Farm - 12 May 2010
Elder Fox & Elder Tenney's P-Day on the Farm
12 May 2010

I also went cow calling and we explored the forest a bit.

Elder Tenney Calling Cows in Acre - 12 May 2010
{This photo} is of me trying out my cow calling skills. They all looked, kind of came, then changed their minds and left.
Elder Tenney:  "First Vision" aka "Exploring the Forest"
12 May 2012
Sorry it's so short this week. More pics and news to come next week.
Elder Mitchell Tenney
12 May 2010
I love you all! 
Elder Tenney 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Week #33: Cowboy Country in Acre (Ah-Kree) Brazil!

So here I am in Acre. I found out my area is the 3rd furthest area from the Staff building in Manaus. The 2 areas in Cruzeiro do Sul are the only ones further than me. I am extremely close to the Bolivian border, and more or less Peru, also. It’s cold here. It feels like end of September in St. George kind of.

I haven't had the chance to take any pix yet of the area, but I´ll describe it later. I am actually in the coldest area of the mission. It gets freezing at night with the fan on the lowest setting. It was quite chilly this morning too, at about 85 F. (Still got his iconic sense of humor:)

Right now I am in Rio Branco, in the City Center. Not many people here. It's a small world. One of my teachers at the CTM said that there are only jaguars and anacondas here. He was partially right. I have seen about 5-6 snakes in my area so far. Only one was still alive. All the others were road kill. Also, there was a 30 foot sucuri (Anaconda) that the people caught somewhere nearby. It was massive. It was on the news. Pretty cool. Haven’t seen a jaguar yet, but let me explain how to best describe my area.

I am in Miami, Texas (Elder Tenney's mom's hometown in the Texas Panhandle - population 588:) with strange jungle trees and everyone speaks Português instead of English! That’s right, I am in cowboy territory kind of. There is only one other difference. There is more than one stop light. I think 3. No, kidding, but seriously, there aren’t that many. It is super flat out here, lots of cows, cowboy hats, and a funny accent. We went out to a colony out of town for lunch on Sunday and the house felt just like Granma’s and Cecil’s house. I got a little homesick. It’s just the wide open spaces feeling that I had been wanting after being stuck in São Paulo and Manaus with all the houses crammed together and buses going every direction all day and night.

27 March 2010: Typical Bus Ride

So, it is an hour bus ride to get into Rio Branco from Quinari (Senador Guiomard - it has two names, one indigenous and the other official).  That means another hour just to go back.  I got quite the headache last Monday because it was ride in for district meeting, stay for a couple hours, then quickly grab another bus back. Lots of bouncing around and I was not feeling too chipper the rest of the day. To make things better, I had an amazing lunch. It was all good, until near the end I noticed that the little spices I thought I was eating were really ants that accidentally got cooked in with the noodles. I was hungry, so I just finished it off.  It was actually pretty good.

The people here are extremely nice. All the ward members are ready to help. We got a ton of references last week, and we already have a bigger teaching pool than what I had in Castanheira.

The wall outside Elder Tenney & Elder Fox's front door in Senador Guimoard
We are in Rio Branco right now and Elder Fox brought me to a LAN house that has super fast internet. It is really expensive, but oh so much more powerful. I just threw a chunk of pictures into the email. Most of them are of the bus ride to Presidente Figereidoododsoiausdfpoaisndf (I forgot how to spell it).  There are a couple pictures of a wall that is right outside our front door. Everything else is super old.

Our washing machine isn’t the best in the world. It really just churns water for a bit, then we have to drain the water, and then rinse the soap out of the clothes and then hang them up. We are just starting to do it all by hand really. It takes a while, but clean clothes are better than smelly.

I stopped doing that marking thing that I challenged Sam to do. I am going to continue later, but right now I really just want to finish the Book of Mormon soon. I just started the Book of Alma the other day. I have to check the dictionary less and less these days. It is really cool. First you read Portuguese, then you understand, then you speak.

Doesn’t Elder Poulton enter the CTM in a couple weeks? Oooh! Exciting! I can’t wait to see a familiar face! I hope I end up in the same zone as him at least sometime this year…

Our zone conference is going to be next Wednesday, so our P-day here in Acre is going to be on the Tuesday before, or the Thursday after. We don’t know yet. Just to let you know when my emails come early or late next week.

I am at 7.5 months right now. This means I am almost to 1/3 of the mission done already. What on earth is happening? Time is just flying by! Every day feels like an eternity, but it feels like it is Sunday, then P-day, then Friday, and then Sunday again. I already have a whole week here in Acre. (Ah-Kree)

Well, I think that’s about it for now.

Love you mom.

Élder Tenney

*Here is the info for the Mother's Day Call:  (YEA!!!)

I will be at the Bishop's house at 4:00 (16:00) in the afternoon, waiting anxiously for the phone call. I don't know what the time difference is between here and there, but last time you nailed it on the spot. Only thing is, you had daylights savings time, so yeah. Here is the number. I think I have the country and area code in it. The last 8 numbers is the house number. Good luck.

When you call, just say something like this --- Hey. hey. oi? Élder? and just repeat "elder". If I am there, I'll answer. If not, you will hear some Portuguese and the phone might hang up. Good luck. I hope it's the right number... If not, I will call home really fast then hang up. Don't pick up, or it will charge them a bunch.
Vós amo.

Élder Teni

(P.S.)  I withdrew R$50 today this morning because I was out of money and our allowance didn’t fall yet, so . . . just FYI.

Things to send:

A stick of deodorant. Rip rolls. Just fill the box to the max with goodies really. I had something else, but I forgot to write it down…


Tootsie Rolls

Rip Rolls

Pit Rub



A Jar of Peanut Butter