September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

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

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Week #51: Mauazinho: Called to serve

Elder Tenney transferred last week from the state of Acre back to the Amazonas state. 
This photo must have been his goodbye to his bishop in the Senador Guiomard ward in Acre.
29 August 2010


So this week was pretty awesome. Let me get out my handy dandy notebook and we will start with day one and see how this week was.
Elder Arruda on first P-day in apartment in Mauazinho
31 August 2010

Let´s start with the comp. So, Elder Arruda has a funny story. He is from the state of Roraima. This is right next to the Amazonas. In fact, it is in the mission. Why is he in this one then you may ask?  The fact is, he was called to Rio de Janerio North, but the mission closed and all the missionaries from there were scattered through Brazil. He ended up coming here.  And he doesn't go home until he has 2 years and 4 months. Seems they reset the mission clock for him, too. Poor guy. He's pretty cool. He actually likes to work. Wow. Heaven.
Are these stairs up to code?!?
Elder Tenney's house in Mauazinho
31 August 2010

View of the "Meeting of the Waters" of the Amazon from
Elder Tenney's apartment in Mauazinho
06 September 2010
Ok, on to the house. It is a two-story complex made with your normal Manaus quality bricks that break easy and cement. Like all other buildings, it is destined to fall over within the next couple of decades due to mold and decay. I love it. We go up on the roof and have a perfect view of the river, except that some nerd decided to build his house right in front of where the two rivers come together. I tried to take pix. I really tried. Didn't work out all that great.
Kitchen in Mauazinho as left by the previous occupant
31 August 2010

And the bathroom in Mauazinho
31 August 2010
There are two bathrooms, a bunk bed and two regular frames, but only 3 mattresses and one fan. Actually, we got a fan from another house because the other missionaries got air conditioning from a member. Luckys.....

Bedroom in Mauazinho the week Elder Tenney moved in
 before the big clean-up!
31 August 2010

Ok, the Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarea. (Imagine that in like a big NBA loudspeaker or something...) So, our Bishop and all his family and neighbors are from Peru. Only the bishop, his wife, and one daughter speak and understand Portuguese. We are now learning Spanish as a 2nd/3rd language tambien. There are over 1000 members baptized in this ward. That is enough for one stake all on it's own. It is really sad because we make contacts in the road and about 5-10% of them are with inactive members. Another thing is the active ones don't really even talk to us. All I know is that missionaries in the last six months have been super sick, fighting, having problems, etc., so maybe they just aren't into the whole missionary mode anymore. We were having such a shock with the members attitude that we called President Jayme just to ask if something had happened. I already stated what he said. He also told us he wasn't planning on opening this area yet, but he felt strongly right before transfers that it should be opened again. Then when he was going to decide who would do it, he didn't even have Elder Arruda or me as companions here. He was completely directed by the Spirit to put us here during this time. I am super excited to see what is going to happen during these six weeks.

Study time: Duty to God (Portuguese)
26 August 2010
For the Strength of Youth
in Portuguese
26 August 2010

The struggles: It is hot. Hot. HoT. HOT. With a nice lunch and a river breeze, I am really sleepy these days. I am doing all I can, but the other day we came home after lunch to do a bit of study rest time, and I fell asleep reading Jesus the Christ (Portuguese, of course). Elder Arruda didn't have the heart to wake me, and we didn't know much about the area and we have a guy in our ward that showed us around the day after, so he let me rest. For a few hours. I still was a bit sleepy, but I guess reading about Ancient Jewish customs with big James E. Talmage words wasn't the best combo for that afternoon. We have more appointments now, so not going to happen again soon.
Pacu: "It's what's for dinner".
04 September 2010

But what is this, Elder Tenney?
Amazonian salsa??
26 August 2010

Fun thing I ate this week: (Three times actually) So there is a fish called Pacu. It is like the cousin to the Piranha. Yeah, I ate it and it was gooOOood. O_o Mr. Jensen from 8th grade science had a huge one of these, but it died. He should have grilled it. It is amazing.

Elder Tenney @ center far end of table
Preparation Day
08 September 2010

So, yeah, that’s my week. Hope you all are having a good one! Love you all tons! Halloween:  Lots of mini-chocolates like what Allison sent! The fridge works!
-Elder Mitchell Tenney

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Week #50: TRANSFERRED!!!

Hey Everybody!
Where to begin? Let's start with the transfers: Elder Trage is in Senador Guiomard. I am not. That´s right all, I done be back in Manaus. I forgot it smelled funny here. So, there was this one elder who was doing a bunch of junk in Senador Guiomard, and the area closed. I went there and reopened it with Elder Fox. That same elder went home last transfer complaining of heart problems and he closed another area. Guess who just reopened it. That's right. I did.

Elder Tenney's New Area in Mauazhino
(Photo by Elder Lobhino 2003-2004)

I am in an area in the Center Zone of Manaus. It is called Mauazinho. It is directly south of my first area, Castanheira.

Houses in Mauazinho
(Photo by Elder Lobhino, 2003-2004)

When we got there, the house was dirty to the limit just like how the last one was left in Acre. So my comp and... OH! I have a new companion. His name is Elder Arruda. I met him in Acre. He is pretty awesome. Neither of us know anything about the area, so we are a little lost. It has been 6 months since this ward has had a baptism. All the elders who have been here have been sick and unable to work and yeah. This area is lucky it reopened. When I got here, there were more than 200 missionaries. Now Missão Brasil Manaus has 138 missionaries. All the interior areas are closing. Brasil as a whole is missing 700-800 missionaries to open all the areas. #1 problem is the visas. #2 is lack of young men wanting to go on missions. Oh, I met an elder here today. He is an American named Elder Reil. Guess who was his companion in the CTM! Elder POULTON!!! I will go crazy if Elder Poulton doesn't get here in the next transfer.

Let's see... I got the 2 packages and some letters with pix! THANK YOU!!!! The ward doesn't know we are here yet, so we have to hunt for food this week. Thankfully, the house we live in is rented out by the first counselor in the bishopric so we got a meeting marked tonight to meet people.
River shoreline & views at Mauazinho - Photo by Elder Lobhino, 2003-2004

Elder Tenney's View from his house in Mauazinho
(06 September 2010)

Oh! Cool thing about the house! We went out on the roof and we can see the river really well. We are right on the riverside practically, and our part is where the two rivers come together! It's so awesome! The house is huge, too! 2 stories. But yeah, it was really, really dirty. We spent 8 hours cleaning. There was no water, but thankfully an old carton of grape juice and an open box of cereal and some spaghetti noodles. We ate the spaghetti.

Our area is really far away from the others, so we are our own district of 2 missionaries. A bit of a change from Rio Branco where there are 2 districts of 10 missionaries.

So yeah, back in Manaus now. It smells funny. I had forgotten that smell. Acre was really clean. But I am happy to be back here in the big city again.

Elder Seastrand is home now. Lucky... all of my American companions besides Elder Owens are at home now.

Sorry, I left my memory card at home, so no pics this week, but the pictures are going to slow down because the internet here is super slow.

I got all my stuff that I left in the staff building before leaving Manaus. I wasn't thinking and put my suit in a box. It smells funny now. I have all my English scriptures and books now! Not that I need them... It is super easy to read Portuguese! Speak is a different story. I like reading and writing it, though.

Love you all!

Pray for us to find men and families to teach and baptize. I know they are here. This is one of the biggest wards in Manaus. They had 200+ members at one point, and now it is 130, with a high percentage of kids.  At least they are children of members.

Church is true! etc.

Elder Mitçhell Tenney