September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

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