Thursday, February 11, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Letter #25

Dear Families and Friends,

​Transfers occur tomorrow. I´m staying here, but Elder Costa is leaving for a new area. So at six o'clock tomorrow morning, we´ll be picking up my new companion. And the other two missionaries in the house are getting transferred as well, so it´s going to be different here. My companion will be Elder Soares. And that´s all I really know so far. All three will be Brasilians again, which will continue to help with my Portuguese.

And talking about mosquitoes, there aren't many here in Serra (blessing!) but I know four missionaries in one part of the mission that got dengue fever already this year, and one other, Zika. Both health professionals President and Sister Young told us that 99% or more of the cases will be prevented by mosquito repellent and getting rid of standing water in and around the houses. So we've been following that. But last week, we´re walking down the street, and Elder Costa shouts,"You have a dengue mosquito!" Sure enough it was on my shirt so I swatted him quickly, and everything is still good. Thank goodness he saw it. I had thought that some mosquitoes carry dengue and others don´t, but apparently they are a different kind. They are whitish, and therefore distinguishable.

This week, I haven´t really seen any mosquitos at all. Because it is so hot. I think they all died. When I smell someone cooking liver and kidney, I wonder if I´m just smelling mine. Just kidding. It's hot, really hot, but it doesn't bother me. And we have a system, we both carry a waterbottle, so we go from house to house asking for water, and drinking it in between. It feels like sometimes for every four houses, we ask for water, ask for water, ask for water, ask to use the bathroom (repeat as necessary).

It's funny because I think the heat bothers my companion more than me, but when we are in houses, the host will ask what I think about the heat, and often the person will put the one fan in the house right in my face because they think I´m not used to the heat, and Elder Costa is almost dying, wanting some air.

English class went well this week. Only three people attended, but they all enjoyed it, and I´m excited for this week.


And Carnival. Holy cow. It´s crazy. Nothing happens here. Literally nothing. The two biggest Carnival celebrations are just south of here, in Rio de Janeiro, and north of here in Salvador, bahia. So everyone leaves to go there or just to the beach here. Today, walking to use the computer here, I think 80% of the businesses are closed. It´s difficult to talk with people in the street, just because there is practically no one here. It goes officially until Tuesday.

One other interesting thing here is the kids. School starts at age 2-3. And goes until generally 18. But, for only 3-4 hours per day. So we see them all the time, and especially right now as there is one more week of summer break. They play soccer. And fly kites. With the kites, especially being near the coast with lots of wind, they get them into space almost. And try to cut others kites with their string. And the other national hobby is sitting and watching people. A lifelong habit that starts young. We have one investigator, who lives in an alley, and there is almost no one else there. But every time we go, there´s a five year old who is watching the alley. And he tells us whether or not our investigator is home. But the amazing thing is we've visited at 8:50 p.m and 8:50 a.m.. And the kid is just watching, every time.

We have four very promising investigators, but right now all four are struggling about whether they really want to change their relationship with their girlfriends. All four believe in the Book of Mormon, and in this Church, but know they can´t be baptized unless they change.


Don´t be afraid to change. One of my most favorite talks is by Elder Hugh B. Brown talking about the currant bush. Sometimes, we may not understand why things happen, but we have to trust in the Lord, in His plan for us. And that will include pruning us at some time. But if we trust, we will be thankful afterwards.

Love,

Elder Schenewark


Sunday, February 7, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

How are you? Do I have the goose-bumpiest story of the week for you! Dad and I could hardly wait to share it with you. In 2011 and the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan,taxi drivers report picking up ghosts of victims of the disaster. According to Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, at least seven drivers working in Ishinomaki, an area struck by the disaster, said they picked up passengers who later disappeared mid-ride. One driver said he picked up a woman in a coat in early summer, several months after the tsunami. “Please go to the Minamihama (district),” the woman said. He told her the area was empty — it had been devastated by the tsunami. Then, she asked a very strange question in a shaking voice. “Have I died?” The question was enough to make the driver turn to look in the back seat, but no one was there. All who talked about ghost passengers started their meters once the riders enter their cab. The meter is recorded. And when the ghost passengers disappeared, they had to pay their fares. Some of the seven who spoke to the reporter had recorded the experience in their logs, and one had a report that proved his unpaid fare.

Your cousin Kevin made the papers. "Not only did Ledyard win the game, but it continued to develop its post game. Senior Kevin Hutchins finished with six points and 10 rebounds. "If our big men play like this the rest of the season," McNair said, "we're going to have a good season."

Your Brazilian mosquito disease is making the news here. The news report how Brazilians are spending sixty dollars a month just in bug spray. The first case of tropical Zika virus linked to serious birth defect in the United States has been reported,as well as the fact that the Zika virus is spreading explosively in the Americas.

The Super Bowl was played today. Your father was on the phone with his father, during the middle of the game. He forgot there was a game on, and got a few updates from Grandpa Schenewark, while on the phone. This year it was the Denver Broncos (50) vs the Carolina Panthers (24).

We had spaghetti this week,with Parmesan, and Sawyer was commenting on how much he loved it. I said,"Okay, little Hunter." He wanted to know what I meant. I told him you loved Parmesan so much,you'd eat it plain out of the bag. I can never keep it in stock when you're around. Just so you know how much you're in our daily lives!

Dad got tired of Breyer's screaming. He told me she sounded like what he thought a banshee would sound like. So he had a talk. "Breyer, princesses don't scream." "Yes, Dad, they do." "No, only if there's a dragon." "I'm practicing." And she's only four!

We handed out invitations to the little girls at church today for her tea party birthday. The three girls we invited, all have sisters, so between three families she gets eight girls. She's also inviting Chloe,the neighbor girl up the street who's Porter's age.

 Four cub scouts I took them to a cemetery in the dark, with flashlights,to see the grave of Davey Crockett's wife. Breyer was spooked silly,and clung to my leg the whole way in and back out again.

Your brothers had more basketball games this week, and Cooper had another tennis match, with the same results: one the first, lost the second in overtime - mens' doubles.

I think that's our week in a wrap up. We love you dearly. I read John 15 last week, and pondered on the second verse all week. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (purify, tests)  it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  It is interesting to me that those who don't produce are purged, and those who do produce are tested and tried. When we have trials we turn to Christ. Verse 5 says, He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Through this purifying process we are made more productive.

May your baskets be overfilling with fruit.

Love,

Mom

Wingman Words of Wisdom

Dear Hunter,

Funny moment of the week: I've been writing to genealogists in Germany to try and find the Schenewark line and while working on that this afternoon began to sing the primary song "Genealogy, I am doing it, my genealogy...at which point AnneMarie cut in and started singing to the same tune "and I won't forget all the men that died who gave that right to me..." Not quite how it goes but it kind of fits right in ;) She's the sweetest and we laugh our days along...

Which is good because this week was long. 5 midterms, 2 basketball games to work, 2 basketball games to play, and all the attendant stresses of normal life. Like my phone going kaput on me. I've opted for a higher end replacement since Ammie will be coming off her family's phone plan this summer and we'll need to have our own. My shiny new iPhone should be here tomorrow! The bonus is that it will work fine in Scotland without having to pay extra so we can Face time family here without having to buy a Scottish phone. And its cool, ya know? ;)

Friday we had a wonderful day. Mimi and Grampy came into to town to ordain Uncle Ben a high priest, so we went and spent most of Friday hanging with them. They carry a wonderful spirit with them as you know and it was great for AnneMarie to be able to meet them too:) (see the picture below of him playing Call of Duty or something with Josh--priceless:)


After we hung with them, they were headed to bed early for an early morning flight back to Boston so we had a couple date with a new couple in our ward, very cool, rock climbing and burgers at Mooyah! AnneMarie won all the prizes rock climbing, reaching new heights--haha, literally--on some very challenging routes. Sometimes when I want to give up on a route she just looks up at me and gives me the best encouragement. Something to look forward to in the future;)


I wish you could come visit our lovely home and bask in its light:) We were both feeling wonderfully grateful for families this week and maybe that's my thought for you today. You are on a mission, ultimately, to unite and reunite families. Whatever family structure and happiness they may have now, it is eternally meaningless without the gospel. Now of course that blessing may come later to some, so recognizing that isn't meant to demean their families. Rather, you can help them recognize that their families will be happier NOW with the gospel. They will have greater peace NOW, less contention NOW, etc. You get the point. And they will notice that in the families in the church even if you may think there's a lot lacking.

We Love You Dearly! Have a great week working. Keep up the obedience and look for the guidance of the Spirit throughout the day.

Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pinewood Derby!










First place Bear Den, First place Overall - Grand Champion!!
Congratulations, Miller!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter #24

Dear Family and Friends,

Another wonderful week. There was disappointment as the number of people committed to attend church dwindled and dwindled until it was just one. And some of the people had legitimate reasons, others simply unwilling or not wanting to change their lives. It's sad when people I feel the spirit with, and want to help, revert back to old ways. I think disappointments are good, and an essential part of life.

When that one person, Clayson walked into church, my joy felt full. because we had worked so hard for one person, and he is wonderful. Saturday, he threw away his coffee, and we whooped and hollered a little bit, and he already loves the church. He´s only 17, but has his own little house and lives alone. We were looking for someone else, when we started talking to him, and he invited us right in. He had been living with his brother, but he married, so on Tuesday when we met Clayson, it was only the third day he had lived there. And I feel like the church has already become somewhat like a family for him. We barely talked with him Sunday, as he spent it all with members, Today he has family home evening with a family,  I´m excited. Carnival starts Friday, so the stake has a four day activity, and he´ll be going to that.


So fresh and so clean.

And about disappointment, it´s impossible to feel that way for long. Not only are there lots of people we´re working on finding who want the gospel in their lives, but I wake up in Brasil everyday. Speaking Portuguese. Serving the Lord. #blessedbeyondmeasure And for good measure, I´ll add that you haven't seen beaches, until you've seen these beaches.  And wonderful food always.

We had interviews with Pres. Young this past Saturday. Awesome. He is the man (he looks like Pres. Packer). While Elder Costa was talking with Pres. Young, I talked with Sis Young (mother of 10!). She served a mission in Germany and some of their kids have German names, so we talked about family history, and it turns out that Pres. Young, is a direct descendant of William Bradford, like us. So that's awesome. He didn't have time then, but wants to see our family tree, #cousins, but it really was a great interview, He has the spirit so strong, and afterward I felt like I was walking on air. We talked about John 15, which Elder Holland called a guide for missionaries (and I think for life) and which we were asked to read before coming. I´ll recommend it again to everyone.

And short but important thought of the day. 2nd Nephi 32:3. The scriptures really do tell us everything we need to do. Many times they are our way to know the will of heavenly Father.

Love,

Elder Schenewark


Sunday, January 31, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

I gave Dad The Cokeville Miracle for Christmas, and we watched it over Christmas break for the first time, and again today. It's a true story that took place in 1986, in Cokeville, Wyoming, and one that I remember well being only a bit of a state away at the time. The former town marshal, fired after six months for misconduct, returned seven years later and took 136 children and 18 adults hostage at Cokeville Elementary School.

David Young entered the school with his wife, Doris, transporting a large gasoline-filled device that appeared to be a bomb. The couple corralled a large group of students and teachers into a single classroom. Young attached the bomb trigger to his wrist and threatened the group that he might, at any time, move his arm and ignite the bomb. After a two-and-a-half hour standoff, the children were becoming restless, so the teachers led them in prayer. The praying appeared to make David agitated and he decided to leave the room. Before leaving the room, David attached the bomb's detonation device to his wife's wrist.

When the children became increasingly loud, Doris began begging the teachers to settle the group down. At one point she lifted her arm sharply and the bomb went off prematurely, injuring Doris while David was out of the room. Returning to the scene, David shot his wife, then himself. All the hostages escaped, though 79 were later hospitalized with burns and injuries. 76 of the hostages suffered injuries, mostly flesh burns and other injuries from the exploding bomb.

Several children reported seeing angels in the classroom that day, including many children who claimed to have seen a "beautiful lady" or person all in white who told them to go near the window. Other children reported seeing an angel over each child's head. All of the children who saw angels were shown several photos to identify the beings. Every child responded to the photos of an ancestor saying, "That's her/him!"

Investigators discovered that only two of the bomb's five blasting caps went off, along with the gasoline leaking preventing a larger explosion. And if it had worked properly, the bomb would have blown off the side of the building and many more would have been injured or killed.

Isn't it wonderful to know, and as the movie thoroughly proclaims, that the power of prayer is miraculous. All the children prayed, and they were all delivered. Not all hostage situations are as miraculous, just as not every leper or blind man was healed when Christ was on the earth. But when He performs miracles, we should always recognize the hand of God. Miracles are real, as you pointed out last week, having ancestors on the other side of the veil eager to help us, and show their love, is also real.

Although more of a love poem by Henry Kemp, this stanza reminds me of our family that has gone before us, and paved the way in love:

The countless generations
Like autumn leaves go by:
Love only is eternal,
Love only does not die

I truly hope you had a wonderful week! The weather here has imitated Brazil: 70-80's every day, and continuing into this week. Balmy breezes, sunshine, and starry, starry nights. I love the weather here! Most likely the winter will continue to be mild because of the El Nino effect, but I'm sure I'll be complaining with the extra hot summer yet to come.

? I think I fixed the blog problem, but forgot to check with you. Did you get last week's letter? I forgot to copy it into an email format for you. Are you getting blog posts?

? And how in the heck did your golf glove accidentally get in your suitcase? However that happened, it was a tender mercy you got to play golf.  Paraphrasing Elder Bednar, a tender mercy is from a loving Savior, sending you a most personal and timely message. Whether the message is of comfort, reassurance, love, compassion...I'm happy you got to play golf.

Cooper had his first tennis meet this week. He played men's doubles, won the first match 8-3, and lost the second round in a tie breaker to the eventual first place winners. And he got to play during school! Breyer and I got all her purses and lunch boxes packed; her clothes, after changing three times, just right, and arrived when he walked off the courts. Better luck to us next time. Watching Cooper play tennis has been elusive.

Breyer, while driving in the car, asked me, "Mom, have you ever seen a "bo-nuski?"
"A what?"
"You know, the snow dog."
"You mean a husky?"

She cracks me up. I will forever think of those dogs as bonuskis.

Your father had me laughing at the latest news headline: Charges were being filed against those that put a scratch on King Tut's mask. After 3300 years and countless miles of travel all over the world, without such a mark, it happened. It was then discovered his beard had been knocked off and glued with super glue. Such are the items worthy of the news.

He also found an interesting article that listed the top 50 most violent cities in the world, and Brazil is listed 21 times! And, Vitoria is 31st! Are you surprised? I am. Uncle Zach's mission, Joao Pessoa, is 15th; Vitoria da Conquesta is 36th (3 hours away from you). Maryland,the first from the United States, pops in at 19th, Detroit 28th and New Orleans 32nd. Dad;s mission, Johannesburg, South Africa, finishes my list at 47th. Be careful!!

Stephen Welch announced he was entering the Mexico MTC on March 9th, to serve in his original mission in Mexico. If we can, we'll try to go to his farewell in Oklahoma City.

While driving, again, Breyer posed this question to Miller and myself. "Why do princesses need so much beauty sleep?" And Miller's answer? "If they don't get enough sleep they're grumpy and when they're grumpy their face looks mean." That'll do.

Your cousin appears to be very happy. We're all looking forward to the trip down to Houston in April. Grampy's going, and working on the paperwork to perform the ceremony. There might be a few who travel back to the Dallas area to visit with us for a while.


I will be checking on your glasses this week. I forgot to write it down, so I forgot. When Dad visits the bank for February's payment, he'll check into getting you a bank card.

Saturday was a very busy day. Sawyer and I put up the pinewood derby track at our church, went to his basketball game, and then back to the church to finish setting up. Almost 100? cub scouts, parents and guests filled the gym, with 27 entries. Fun day. Miller walked away with the win over the Bear den, and overall winner. That's a first for us. But compared to you and Tanner, he's benefited from all of Dad's expertise he's accumulated over those 50 or so cars collecting dust in the boys' bedroom. He did another Car car. He has two more years, and plans to finish out his collection. Cooper,Porter, Sawyer and Dad all helped run the derby...judging the finish line, watching over cars, figuring out brackets. The missionaries registered, weighed and judged. Such big help, notwithstanding the almost 100 visitors in the church building. We ended the evening with another basketball game for Sawyer.

Friday evening Dad took Cooper on a scout camp out, pretty close to town, and came back Saturday morning just in time to see the end of Sawyer's game and put the wheels on Miller's car.

Friday evening Porter, in his  2.5 minutes of play time, went in with a 37-17 loss, and helped them return to 39-29, without scoring a basket.

Friday evening Sawyer played basketball, had a great game rebounding, passing, being a leader on the floor.

In between all of the weekly evening activities, Dad and your brothers will hop in the car and drive to the pond for a little fishing time. It's nice to see your father finally have a hobby! And the weather was perfect for them to do this.

I think that's the update for the week. Know of our love for you, that we expect you to keep yourself safe, and know that we "fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." 2nd Kings 6:16.

Love,

Mom