Friday, September 4, 2015

Scenes of Summer

Hunter,

Just in case you needed a few reminders of your adventures, perhaps a little tired of sitting inside all day while training, I thought I would end your California trip with a few outside vistas you passed while enroute:








 














Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Letter #2

Hello Family!

It's good to hear from you and finally get to be able to write. So I did obviously finally make it to the MTC, although traveling there was seriously awful. But oh well. It was great to see Tanner, Annemarie and the cousins, especially Greg, whom I haven't seen in forever. He joked that we switched places, me to a mission, him to freshman year of BYU.

So there are ten people in my district, and we all came in on Wednesday to learn how to speak Portuguese. Elder Knudson is from Marysville, California and is the District Leader. His companion is Elder Broyles from Colorado. They are going to the Sao Paulo north mission. There is Elder Pyne from Richardson, Texas, so pretty close to us, and his companion is Elder Smith from some little town in Texas, I think he said Poth. Not sure about that last detail though. They are going to the Salvador Sul mission, north of me in Bahia. There is Sister Doge from Nashville, and Sister Gage from Washington State. Sister Doge is going to Vitoria as well, and Sister Gage is going to Florianopolis, way south. 

Sharing our room, is Elder Jones from North Carolina. He's actually from the Duncan's stake, and the girl he left behind is in their ward. His companion is Elder Johnson from Houston. They are going to Salvador Sul as well. Elder Johnson's a great guy. He's African-American, and the only member of the church in his family, and I don't know how much his family is supporting him, but so far he hasn't gotten a letter. So....For those who feel inclined, I think it would be absolutely fantastic if you could send a short note to him. While we are at the MTC, if you go to Dearelder.com, you can write a note there, and they will print it out and send it to the MTC for free. He went to BYU last year as well, I think on a music scholarship, and plays the organ and piano insanely well. It's his favorite thing to do, and he is definitely talented. He's mentioned how the mission has been a lot harder than he thought, and yesterday was also his birthday, so if he could get a couple notes I think it would be awesome. To my uncles and aunts, if you feel so inspired, send him your letters while he's here. I think he would love to get anything. Share your testimony, maybe favorite hymn, whatever. I know it would be very appreciated.  His name is Andra (or maybe Andrae) Dwayne Johnson. Brazil Salvador Sul mission. Mailbox 184. 

Elders Pyne, Smith and both sisters went to BYU-Idaho, and I and Elder Johnson went to BYU. Everyone else, so four others are straight out of high school.


I got Uncle Aaron's letter yesterday, and that was exciting. I've always loved reading the weekly family letters, but I had no idea how much more it would mean now, getting some outside news

Okay, now to me and my companion. It's crazy how quickly you can get to know someone when you're spending literally 24 hours a day with them. My companion is Elder Oviatt. He actually lived in Athens Ohio, so about two hours away from us, all four years of high school. His Dad was working as a VP at Rocky Mountain Boots. We went to the big store  when we were in Athens. In July, his family moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin for Wigwam sock company..

We've been getting along great. He is fluent in Spanish and served a mini-mission Spanish speaking in Columbus, OH for a week, and also studied Portuguese quite a bit after getting his call, so he's really good at it. It's been a challenge trying to keep up with him. In four days of classroom instruction, we've literally gone through the equivalent of three years of high school Spanish. The pace is crazy, and Elder Oviatt and I spend time everyday studying by ourselves. He's unbelievable in the language, and I'm starting to catch up. Now, I can understand about anything said, but respond in pathetically broken Portuguese. 

Our lessons where we prepare in advance and teach in Portuguese have been going really well though. Our last feedback was "Elder Oviatt and Elder Schenewark did everything you'd want in a lesson. The only thing they could improve on, would be to leave a specific part of the Book of Mormon for me to read (it's a fake investigator.) We've taught three lessons so far, and committed him to baptism, to which he said possibly. 

It's been a really good experience helping others in our district, whether they have been suffering from homesickness, companionship troubles, whatever. I know that Elder Knudson is supposed to be the district leader, but I also know that it's my job to try and help him as much as possible. We've had every single person in our district say thank you to me and Elder Oviatt for everything we do, and for always helping them. These last two nights, we've ended with a testimony meeting and almost everyone leaves in tears. The spirit's so strong at the MTC, it is truly hallowed ground. It's wonderful to be with 2000+ other missionaries who want to share the gospel. And I've been making my bed, six out of the seven days so far.

Our zone is all Portuguese speaking, but about half the missionaries are going to mozambique, and a fair amount to Portugal, Cape Verde Islands, and Angola. The rest is Brazil, and everyone here is visa waiters as well, although the majority seem to get theres before leaving, so thats good news.

Funny story, Elder Johnson, from Houston, said the organist in his home ward has narcolepsy so she is always falling asleep in the middle of playing. He says the ward is used to it, so they keep singing and when she wakes up, she just picks up where they are singing. He says she is the nicest old lady ever, and the ward is used to it, but visitors there get freaked out sometimes when she nods off in the middle of a song.

Last Saturday, we had service as a district, and we had to clean some toilets. One was clogged, and instead of just reporting it like is usually done, Elder Smith was like, "Stand back, I got it." And these toilets don't clog easy. I didn't look, but they said it was absolutely awful. He starts trying to unclog, really knows what he's doing but it just isn't helping. He's been going at it for twenty minutes and I've been just cracking up the entire time. He takes a break, saying and I quote, "This is killing my arms. Now I wish I had bought that shake weight." Hilarious. Then he's back at it, and he's like, "My hands are killing me!" to which someone says, "The smell's got to be killing you!" to which he replies, "The smell's awful. But it's not the worse. The worse part are the splashes." Absolutely hilarious! He wouldn't give up, but we finished cleaning the bathroom, and were like, "Let's just report this one." So he left the plunger in the toilet and we left.  He is a character.

Elder Johnson, aka Whitney's son is in my branch, waiting for his visa. He's been here about a month.




I've seen Elder Lewis, Mckay Lewis all the time. At the Sunday devotional, his companion, an acquaintance of the speaker, Charles W Dahlquist, former young mens general president, and on the scouting executive committee.  Bro. Dahlquist called up his grandson to come onto the stage, and then was like, "I am sure your companion has been trained well and will come up with you." So Elder Lewis went too, and they sang, "I am a Child of God" in front of everyone.



This morning we got to got to the temple, which was wonderful. I know this is the place I'm supposed to be, at the time I'm supposed to here. I've loved it hear so far. Elder Holland said at one BYU devotional years ago, "I loved my mission like no one has ever loved their mission, and I'm sure ever will" or something close to it. Well, in fairness I can't say it yet because it's only been a week. But watch out. Because I'm loving it so far. And I'm always loving you all back home. I think and pray about y'all every day.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

P.S. I need SOCKS!! My feet need them bad, like a bunch, so I can change socks a couple times a day!!! Love you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Long Beach Love

Dear Hunter,

Today as you open your first emails, we hope you can feel of our love for you, remember the fun memories of this whirlwind-of-a-summer, and be sure to send us lots of words and pictures!


 



 












Monday, August 31, 2015

With All My Love

Dear Tanner, and Elder Schenewark:

What a week. Having a son leave for a two year mission, and another in the throes of getting ready for a wedding is just a tad bit overwhelming. Oh. Did I forget to mention four of your brothers also began school this week?

All their online forms were filled in, versus mounds of paperwork to return; school supplies purchased and divided; digging out lunchboxes, restocking the shelves with clean laundry, and going to bed. Earlier. And it takes both of us to get everybody out the door, dropped off, picked up, and dropped off again. Do you remember last year's letter when we described Cooper getting off his bus, walking like an old man, because of his athletic work outs? The scene has repeated itself, only this year it's Sawyer. And instead of Cooper's one year tenure, he'll be at that school for three years!

I've been thinking a bit of the difficulties we've encountered getting you on your mission. I should have known back in April, when it took us three days to get your license, it wasn't going to be easy. Multiple visa applications, multiple consulates, more money, more FBI clearances, more fingerprints,..throw in a few car accidents on the way to the airport, two upset stomach deposits, a missed flight, a standby that was too full, arriving at the training center six hours later than everybody else...it is known you are not the ordinary missionary. On both sides of the war you'll be fighting. We were disappointed not to have received the customary picture of your arrival, but your departure from Tanner, and your cousins, was wonderful.

Breyer moved right into her life-without-anybody-else-home routine without blinking. She spent most of this week playing with her plastic frogs,snakes and lizards like they were dolls. They went in her doll house, in her bicycle basket, in the pirate ship, in the bathtub...constant companions. Her reptile library book she brought home completed her foray into this environment completely. For being such a girly girl, I think it's funny. And I am convinced I'll never understand her but I always enjoy her.

Cooper won his first tennis match, six games, 6-0. It was an away day, but most of his will be on the home court.

Porter's football team had their first game Friday night under the lights, and walked off 49-6 in the hole. But your brother looked great, and has a big fan base. Our neighbor up the street asked to be his "grid-iron girl," so she gets to bring him a basket of goodies every game day, as well as wear her "grid iron girl" tee shirt with his name and number. Some players are having to find their own grid iron girls so Porter is fortunate ;-)




Did you know elephants sway side to side trying to touch each other because they're lonely? And when granted wide open spaces they bark, growl, rumble and trumpet as they bump and nudge each other playfully like children. They are good to their mothers and take care of one another and can signal members of their pack from great distances with vibrations and odors that humans can't' hear or smell. Elephants are very intelligent and sensitive and cry. Not that I'm comparing either of you to an elephant. Your nephew baby Ben has that distinction. He was a master communicator with his mother, and he was good to her as well, and had an awesome rumble. But, I like the family aspect of an elephant herd, and neither of you are in our herd at the present time. So while you're bumping others, when you're lonely, and nudging those when you want to play, remember your mother. Write often, call when you can.

Love,

Mom

P.S. Hunter, just for you to answer:
Tanner's taking the same marketing class he took last semester. It requires an online text that you already purchased so he would like to use the same copy if you could provide me with your login to the myeducator web site. It'd save him $60:)

Saturday, August 29, 2015