September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Week #67: Pictures Say It All!

This week, I shall be using my handy dandy new memory card reader to send some much wanted photos to all you peoples in StG. I´ll just bullet list the highlights since Sunday.
-Still working on Birth Certificate.

-Bought a box to send stuff home soon.

-Transfers this week.

-It´s New Year's! I still have to be sleeping at 10:30pm like last year. I slept through the fireworks last year. They party until 2ish in the morning. -I am happy, healthy, and going strong.

Happy week! It´s President Jayme´s 60th birthday on the 30th (tomorrow) Love you all! -=Elder Tenney=-

Elders Tenney & Poulton: Hometown Friends Reunited @ Last!
Zone Conference - 26 October 2010

"We went to INPA a few weeks ago."
17 November 2010
INPA Critter (P-Day Outing)
17 November 2010
"It's a Giant Leaf!"
17 November 2010

" I almost got a good pic of a monkey"
17 November 2010

"It's me!" (Elder Tenney - 17 November 2010)

"There were a bunch of little tiny frogs everywhere!"
17 November 2010

"Manaus Banner"
17 November 2010

"Janderson´s baptism - there was a little girl baptized by her dad, too, on the side"
21 November 2010

"My bed/couch that I used to have"
28 November 2010

"Debora's Baptism"
28 November 2010

"Elders Tenney & Ammon"
08 December 2010

"A Sunset"
15 December 2010

Maria´s Baptism
19 December 2010

"My Poor Shoes"
20 December 2010

"My Poor Shoes" #2
20 December 2010

Don't think duct tape will work on THAT hole....
20 December 2010

"I´ve still got a bit of shoes that should last another 2-3 months before they end up in the same state as those. I´m going to buy shoes next transfer." 20 December 2010

"Temple Construction"
Mission Christmas Conference - 22 December 2010

"Temple Quarters for Missionary Couples"
22 December 2010
"Elder Tenney @ the Manaus Temple"
22 December 2010

"Temple with District 38-C from the CTM for Mission Christmas Conference"
22 December 2010

Nicolau & Iracema´s Baptism
26 December 2010

That´s all for now. We´re off to work again!

-Elder Tenney

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Phone Call :P

We had a great 73 minute phone call with Elder Tenney on Christmas morning about 11:15.  It took awhile to get through to him, so when we did it was amidst tears of joy and relief when we heard his voice!  The missionary work is going very well - today he was to have a baptism, so he was very excited about that as well as all the wonderful teaching opportunities he is having.  He is just as funny and full of good humor as always and declared himself to be as healthy as can be and just completely happy with his missionary life as we could possibly ask for. 

There is no feeling like having your extended family gathered around you during the holiday season and sharing time talking to a missionary son or daughter in the field far from home.  It is a sacrifice not only for that missionary but for parents and family and friends who love and miss that missionary beyond words to have him gone from your midst, for so long.   

Some reading this may wonder why we do it...why does the missionary do this?  Because we love our Saviour Jesus Christ and want to share His gospel message with the world.  Our Father in Heaven sacrificed His Only Begotten Son for us....the least we can do is sacrifice our time and means and yes...even 2 years of time apart from our loved ones,  for Him to help the world to know of His love for us and His plan of Salvation which allows us the opportunity to return again to live with Him someday in eternal families forever.  Never to be separated again....

Merry Christmas!  Thanks for all of your love and support of our family and Elder Tenney this past year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Week #66: Phone Plans & Mission Christmas Conference

All right, this might be the most difficult phone call of the mission so far. We are going to try calling from a member´s house. Her name is ** and she is 70+ and a little crazy. She is a recent convert, too. We are going to be there in the afternoon. How it is going to work is I might have to call from her phone to home and then hang up so you know I am there and ready for you to call back. I am going to be there between 2-2:30 my time, that means 11-11:30 your time I believe. I am including her number just in case. I am a little worried because she said her phone is a little weird, so we might have to go to a different place or borrow a cell phone or something if her´s doesn´t work, but she is one of the few people with a land line. Please someone get online soon and send me the US code and everything down to the area and number I should call. What I am planning on is ***.  Correct me if I am wrong. Or tell me the number to dad´s office if you will call from there. Please invite Grandma T. to be there when I call! I would love to talk to her. If Grandma M. and Cecil are there visiting I would love to talk to them, too!

Sorry I am writing so late, we had our mission Christmas conference today and it ended at 6:30 and we took the bus for 2 hours to get back and we came straight to the lan house to send off the stuff. I got the big box! Haven´t opened it yet... I will send pix next week!  {Yea!  We have missed getting Elder Tenney's pictures since his memory card reader broke several weeks ago).

The wedding we were planning probably will fall next week. Neto´s birth certificate is all hashed up so the gov. place that does weddings isn't accepting it and he will have to go to Parintins way far away to get a new one, but he doesn't have any money to do that kind of trip, so they may have to save up for a few months or so...

For conference we went to the Manaus temple {The temple isn't completed yet, but will be by next fall} and had a testimony meeting and then we did a talent show and then we went to a place called Gaucho´s which is like Made In Brazil and then we watched a movie called Defying the Giants which is like a Bible movie/motivation movie. It was really cool to link the stuff in it to missionary work and the mission.

{Instructions for our phone call with the number he gave us follow} Just say "Elder Tenney está?" over and over. She won´t understand you. This number does not have the country code. *** is the state code I think. The last 8 numbers are her house number. Good luck and Love you all!

Merry Christmas!

I love you all! Talk to you this Saturday!

-Elder Mitchell H. Tenney

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week #65: Happy Week Before Christmas!

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Manaus, All the missionaries were working, teaching in every house; Their clothes were neatly pressed and hung with great care, In hopes of a baptism that soon would be there; The missionaries were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of teaching lessons and people danced in their heads; And Elder Ammon on one bed, and I on the other, Had just settled down for a regular night... what rhymes with other? When out on the street there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen rain, Gave the whole scene such a strange sight below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a firey flame, and crazy, drunk men in the act of "jeer", With a little old driver, so shifty and quick, I knew in a moment it must be... a terrorist act. More rapid than eagles they came and attacked, And they whistled, and shouted, and smacked; "Now, Gasoline! now, Fire! now, throw in the bomb, and let´s get farther! On, it goes! on with the flame! on, let´s get away without any blame! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top, the flames they flew, With the little building they blew up too.. And then, in a twinkling, I heard down the road, The screaming of sirens of the police as they rode. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, I said it wasn´t my business, and continued to sleep on the ground.

Ok, so info on this strange story. First off, I am not a witness to anything, but the other night one of the little street vendor hamburger joints just down the road from us got blown up in the middle of the night. I didn´t know until the next day. I slept through the explosion. Second fact, I have a bed, so I am not sleeping on the ground. But, basically, some guys came driving up in the middle of the night, soaked it with gasoline, then threw a small bomb in it and it was nothing but a bunch of gravel and blackened bricks a little later. Cool Beans.

This week was pretty good for us. We are getting the wedding for Neto and Sandra going sometime next week we hope. Doing the wedding papers is stressful. I don´t remember if I told how we met them. Neto and Sandra live in a house filled with people that Elder Gannon and I were teaching last year. We passed by a few weeks ago and I was like, hey! I remember this place. Why did we stop teaching here?  So we went back and basically we began to teach about 10 people of the same family. Most of them are marked for baptism during this month starting this Saturday and part of January. Cool stuff.

We had a Multi-Stake Conference this Sunday. It was for the entire Northern Region of Brazil. Elder Anderson and Pres. Uchtdorf did a transmission. There was the YM pres and Elder Stanley G. Ellis, also. Elder Ellis and Elder Anderson speak Portuguese! They spoke mainly about the blessings that will come with having a temple close by (Manaus and Forteleza). We didn´t manage to have time to see the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional...

On Dec. 22 we will have the Mission Christmas Conference. All the missionaries are to do group talent shows in districts or zones. Our zone is going to do the Christmas Birth of Christ Play. My district is the shephards. yay! ShEeP!

But yes, all is well in Zion. Sorry for the lack of creativity on the poem. I sort of lost it after a bit and my mind went blank.

Have an awesome week! Love you all!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Week #64: It seemed like it would be such an awesome day.....

Behold, it came to pass that the great and abominable church did create a holiday on the 8th of December. And the name given unto that holiday was that of Nossa Senhora da Concessão. (Our Lady of Concession?) Behold, as Elder Tenney and Elder Ammon were coming back home from the Mission Office after dropping off Wedding Documents for a family they are teaching, a great procession began in the middle of Manaus because of said holiday. Behold, it was a mighty procession, in which 50,000+ people did participate, and which did cause much rage and confusion amongst the drivers in the city center. Much to the dismay of the Elders, they stayed on the bus home for FOUR hours, two of which were in the same spot, waiting for said procession to pass. Behold, Elder Tenney has a great headache, and upon arrival was very grumpy because they still had to inform their families and Presidente Jayme about their week. And it came to pass that finally they have arrived in the Lan House, and are able to send such messages for a short space of time. This message is written on a keyboard by Elder Tenney, or, I, Elder Tenney, do write these things.

So, I woke up and said, "Today is gonna be awesome!" We had some study time, made mango/acerola juice, cleaned the house and had planned to go to the staff to drop off some papers; More info on that in a bit. Little did we know that there would be huge traffic jams all over Manaus. It was crazy!!

So, Zone Conference was on Tuesday. Still no package. President Jayme has changed, though. He only has 7 months left until he goes home, and he gave us an ultimatum. He wants to turn over a mission that is 100% obedient, diligent, faithful etc. He has been very merciful over the past with Elders and does everything he can to not have to send them home unless they really need to. Now it is different. Secret Combinations and iniquity are amock. President Jayme said in order for him to go before the judgment bar at the last day without the "blood of our sins on his vestments", he will not tolerate anything. He laid down the law and those who do not fulfill will go home. He gave us the example of Gideon and the 300. It started as 32,000 soldiers, but they ended up with less than 1% of their original force and still made mighty miracles because those that were still there were the Called and Chosen. So, to start the first weeding process, President Jayme had a quick 2-3 minute interview with everyone with a single question: Will you rededicate yourself to serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, or will you continue to do things your way and more than likely go home? With Gideon, it was a question of are you scared to die, and 22,000 said yes and went home. I think almost all the missionaries said they will continue on. The second phase is that of who will drink from the water cautiously and who will go down and slurp up the water and die (go home). President Jayme said he doesn´t know how many missionaries he will give to the new President. Right now there are 127 here in the Manaus Mission. Last year was 200+ when I got here! 6 leave at new year, and 13 are scheduled to come here. But in February, 20 are leaving. Pres. Jayme said if he only has 30 missionaries to give over, he will be happy because it will be an obedient mission. Lots of missionaries are showing true colors now by their attitudes. Some are sad now because they can´t continue on how it has been, as kind of a lax thing. For me, I got kind of this fire kindled inside of me, like I´m ready to just go and throw all of Manaus in the river and baptize them. It´s a strange feeling.

Enough about that, let´s talk investigators. So, The Golden House turned out to have problems. Coffee and Wedding. When we started teaching they were like, "yeah, yeah, we´re married." then we taught the Law of Chastity thinking it was ok and then, "Oh, no, we aren´t married." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo............................!

So, we rushed all the documents and if we are lucky we could do the wedding on Christmas or a little after. (The wedding is for a couple called Neto and Sandra).  Sandra´s whole family lives in that house. Her sisters, Maria, and Irasema and brother Nicolau will probably get baptized a little bit before. I´m super excited. Sometimes when we pass by, the Jehovah´s Witnesses are there teaching some of the brothers, but when we show up they all perk up and smile at us and invite us in. (JW´s have to sit outside). Sandra has been reading the Gospel Principles book from church and she really likes it, but we put an emphasis on the Book of Mormon for her to be reading and praying to get a testimony of it. Oh! Zone Conference ended up being with Center Zone instead of North, so I didn´t see Elder Poulton... I hear he is doing good though! There´s a chance I could be his comp next transfer.. (That´s more just me wishing. But it´s a possibility.)

Good News! I got a bed! We got it from another elder´s house and I have had 4 nights of wonderful, peaceful sleep. Just to let you know, Christmas is on a Saturday, so I don´t have to worry about church interfering with it, unless President Jayme says it should be on the Sunday. I might end up knowing on the 22nd when and where and how I will call you. We are looking for a member with a phone...

I am going to renew my visa this Friday. A little late, but I think I will only stay in the jail for 3 days. (Kidding)

Thanks for all the love and support! Love you all!

-Elder Tenney

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Week #63: It's Another Week in the Neighborhood

So, this last week was a blast. I was a little sick for a couple days. Let´s just say I got in on the wrong end of a bad milk product. If you want to know what the symptoms are for that, you can look it up. I ain´t describing it. But I wasn´t going very well and I had huge stomach pains. Thankfully it has all passed now. Milk here is weird. It´s good for one year after making it because they do a radiation treatment to it. It tastes like... like... radiated milk! There just isn´t any way to describe it.

I have been sleeping on the small couch we have in our apartment the past few nights. If I sleep with the mattress on the ground, ants bite me all night long and it is terrible. So, I put the mattress on the couch with some chairs on the side for support. It´s a little lumpy, but I am getting lots of good rest now. First time that I have slept straight through the night in 13 weeks. It was amazing! We went out this morning to get a bed from a different house in our district, but when we got there the other elders had left, so I´m just going to be a trooper and stay with the couch for another week. It´s not that bad actually.

Zone conference is this next Monday. I´m looking forward to it. I hope I get a package and letters and whatnot at this one. Also, I will see Elder Poulton! Yay! I heard he stayed with Elder Koehler. Elder Koehler has been in that area for about 9-10 months now. Poor guy...

We met a Polish guy last night! It was really weird. He stopped us in the road as we were on our way home. He just flat up asked- How do you guys get paid- and we had that nice little chat of how we pay our mission and not get paid. He came to Manaus 10 years ago as a Catholic missionary but became doubtful of his religion and just decided to live here now. He had a strange accent. Really crisp with the words.

We had another baptism this Sunday of a young woman named Debora. I was teaching her sister a long time ago with Elder Martins before I left the area. (That other sister was baptized after I left.) The other day I remembered a family that I had taught when I was with Elder Gannon a year ago and decided to go there. We now have 5 people marked to be baptized on December 12! There are a lot of people in the house, too! Gold Mine! What's more, they are already married! I love blessings.

All in all, it´s a great week. I forgot it was Thanksgiving, but yeah. I was a little sad yesterday when I remembered that it was a year ago that Grandpa passed away, but I know that me and him are doing the same stuff, just in different places.

Have an awesome week!

Elder Tenney

PS- I got a haircut today. I had the lady cut it super super short, so that I could see where my hairline is. I´m not as bald as I thought! Yay!