Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Letter #7

Dear Family and Friends,

I think this entire summer I have made it very clear that I did not want to stay in the United States longer than I had to. I have felt ready and excited to go to Brazil since I received my call in April. Well, no more. There is no place I would rather be going to tomorrow than Tempe, Arizona. It has been a cool experience as my testimony that Jesus Christ knows and cares about each of us has grown exponentially. Frankly, there is not much of a reason for my not getting my visa. Except that Christ has a reason. I know that there is a reason I am heading down there.

One of my questions, was who gave me my call to Tempe, and I received an email saying that it came from one of the 12 apostles. Also, I found out that I will stay at least 6 weeks, as they keep you there for a full transfer. I can't wait to get there tomorrow and go to work. I feel prepared and am ready to go! Also, I know I mentioned a little last week, but I have loved every single day in the MTC. I have grown so much, and really have been able to help others as well. Someone yesterday told me they were so thankful that I didn't get my visa, and that I had been the answer to their prayers. And they haven't been the first, so it's been truly an unforgettable experience.

Last Tuesday, Elder Claudio R.M. Costa came to speak at the Devotional. He is the head of the Brazil area. It was my favorite devotional by far. Absolutely fantastic. He talked about his conversion at age 28, and some wonderful experiences as a mission president in Brazil. Also, fun fact, I haven't confirmed this, but my teacher said that Elder Costa and Elder Soares aka The Dynamic Duo of Brazil married two sisters.

After the devotional, the branch president President Dansie held my exit interview. He is a great man. One of the first things he told me, was that he knew I must have a great mother. You know it.

I loved Conference!! My favorite talk was Elder Russell M. Nelsons. If you don't remember it, go back and watch it again. Besides the heart wrenching story about the failed heart surgeries on the 3 siblings, I think his talk will be the benchmark for future decisions in my life if you know what I'm talking about. But, no worries or thoughts about that now. I do wish that someone would give a talk like that about men. They probably have, so if anybody knows any similarly incredible ones, let me know. There is always room for improvement. That was also my favorite session.

It was so sad to see President Monson struggle, and I wish I could have been there like Aaron, who held up Moses' arms. And of course, hearing the testimonies of the three new apostles. I had hoped that someone from Brazil would be named, but during the press conference after they were named, I received an undeniable witness that they have been called of God, not man, They are His apostles. I am so grateful to have a prophet and apostles to help us today.

(Elder Leon, "Thank you for been friend of my son all the blessings be upon you and your family.")

After the last session on Sunday, I went immediately to another devotional for the missionaries leaving this week. I'll just say I'm ready to go!!! And then dinner, and then our Sunday night devotional. The a Capella group Vocal Point, came and sang lots of songs, and in between shared their testimonies. That was the first time I'd heard any of their songs, and I love live music so it was good.

Well, I think that's about it. I am looking forward to calling tomorrow!!! Unfortunately, after holding out for 5.5 weeks, I succumbed yesterday. I had a bit of a fever, chills, aches, and I am feeling better today, just have a bit of a cough. I do hate traveling sick. Hopefully I can kick it pretty quick.

And now I have to go pack, shouldn't take long at all, but I do need to do it. We (there are four other elders and four other sisters going) leave tomorrow at 3:35 am from the MTC, so it's going to be a short sleep and a long day. Side note, Tempe missionaries get Ipads and cars so I'm excited for that. The Ipad has enough material, such as everything you could think of in Portuguese in the gospel library app so it will help me keep up my language. Which is superb. I can't take credit. Both my teachers have been fantastic and two weeks of one on one personalized teaching does do amazing things. Tchau!!!!

(One of my teachers Irmao (Brother) Barlow. He served in Mozambique.
My other teacher was Irmao Crestani. He served in southern Brazil.)

And have fun in Vegas!!! That's super exciting!!


Elder Schenewark

Monday, October 5, 2015

With All Our Love

Dear Boys,

Well, Hunter, this is it. You're leaving for Tempe, AZ and soon thereafter, Brazil. Your training will be complete, and you're off to work. Have fun! On the other hand, your brother is embarking on a different journey this week, and will be married before the next Sabbath day. And we couldn't be prouder of you both. You two are the big news in our lives this week, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

There was another shooting in Oregon this week, Hunter. Did you hear about this? The latest shooting took place at Umpqua Community College in the state of Oregon, where nine people were killed and seven more wounded by a single gunman.  Since December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been at least 986 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,234 people and wounding 3,565 more. 264 mass shootings that have occurred in America this year.

I mention this as I've thought all week about why your mission is so important, Hunter. People need to know how to find peace, and where peace can be found. That's your job for the next two years. And Tempe is right in the middle of those awful statistics and your backyard.

What else caught my attention? I knew you'd find it interesting that GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah says he's running to be House speaker.

Because of your father, the fact that Tulane's Aaron Golub got to make history when he took the field in the fourth quarter Saturday, caught my eye. He's a walk-on long snapper and is legally blind. He snapped on Tulane's final extra point of the Green Wave's 45-17 win over Central Florida, and is the first legally blind player to play in an NCAA college football game.

And just in from Charleston, SC, persistent torrential rainfall caused dangerous flooding in South Carolina's main cities and prompted hundreds of rescues through shoulder-deep waters across the southeastern U.S. state due to a weather system that dropped more than 18 inches (45 cm) of rain in one part of South Carolina., and closed seventy miles of freeway.

Thursday my cub scouts and I picked up trash at the hosting church for our service project. The property was very well kept so there wasn't much to collect, but a sock and a #10 can were the finds of the night.

Sawyer pitched again yesterday, did well, but couldn't keep up with their bats. Another loss, but he's getting good. Miller played third and short, no pitching. He's so fast once he gets on base. He stole his way home very quickly. He had a great out at third base, catching a wildly thrown ball and tagging the runner just as he slid too far off the base.Cooper's tennis matches were both losses, but he didn't feel bad as not win was found on the varsity or j.v. teams. Aledo is a large school. Dad went to Porter's away game. Driving an hour each way is a sacrifice, but Porter comes home feeling loved. His basket of goodies from his grid iron girl doesn't hurt either ;-)

Speaking of Porter, he had some ACT results come in this week. He got a 36 in English (surprise!), a 30 in math (no calculator) and a 33 in science, overall 33. He'll be taking it again in two weeks with a calculator. He was told at school that a 33 composite is the highest score they've had in fifteen years. Wait until he uses a calculator ;-)

Porter made homemade pretzels last Sunday, which really could have been bagels. They were yummy! He is getting good with bread dough. He boiled it to make them! Today he made a loaf of bread, pizza dough, pizzas, and then apple pie. He's currently working on the crust portion. And, he's getting slightly better about cleaning up.

Tomorrow all the kids are home from school. I don't know why, and really don't care. I do know we'll be packing for the trip to Las Vegas. They're very excited. Breyer's dress arrived in the mail and she didn't like it. It wasn't pink. It's cream. I think it's growing on her. I hope. I'll be on the phone first thing in the morning confirming the caterers, car, hotel rooms, etc.

Did you love General Conference? We did. We saw all sessions, had to catch the Saturday afternoon session this morning, early, because of yesterday's baseball games. Right? That's the one we really wanted to see live! I love, love, love Elder Holland and he didn't disappoint. Loved President Nelson's The influence of women in the church will be magnified in an unprecedented way, and Elder Foster's Today's parents must be engaged in intentional parenting. Sister Marriott, even with the death of her daughter before she could back from her mission in Brazil, Have faith, it will work out. was fabulous. And Elder Bednar's concluding talk was amazing. "When you cannot do what you've always done, then you do what matters most. Are we going to "ponderize?" We're pondering on that ;-) The music was wonderful, loved the solos.

We're thankful we can hear from you while you're waiting at the airport. Call back, call often, use all of that card before you stop!

Love, love, love,


Friday, October 2, 2015

A Puffing and Huffing Princess

She was determined to run all the way around.
All by herself.
In flower-adorned sandals.
And she did.
With frequent pauses.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Letter #6

Dear Elder Schenewark,

We hope the first few weeks of your study and training at the MTC have gone well. We want you to know we are eagerly awaiting your arrival here in the Arizona Tempe Mission while you await your Visa. We are praying for you and your preparation. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to set aside the world and absorb all the information and inspiration you can. Enjoy every minute of it!
By the time you arrive in the Mission, I anticipate that you will have made good progress on your study of the fundamentals of “Preach My Gospel.” This is an important first step in being able to teach with the Spirit. Your first companion, your Trainer, will be prepared to help you continue this process.

Attached, please find important information that will help you be prepared for your first few days in the Mission. Please be certain that you bring at least $30.00 cash with you for initial spending money. Your missionary support funds may not be immediately available to you when you arrive, and you will need some carryover cash.

We pray for the Lord's blessings to be with you as you complete your training at the MTC. In just a short time, Sister Toone and I will be greeting you at the airport and welcoming you to the "Best Mission in the World." Look for us at the bottom of the escalator that takes you to the Baggage Claim area.

We send our love, and know the Lord will bless you as you continue to do your best to prepare.


President Toone

Dear Family,

Well, these last couple days it's been like waiting for another mission call. Usually people get their assignments on Thursday, but.........I got an email right when I was getting on today, and I will be going to the Tempe Arizona Mission!!!!! I have to say, I am really excited to go serve!!

I'll be leaving here early, early Tuesday morning. Still a little in shock, to be honest, hopefully this letter will still make sense.

Having one on one teaching 30 hours this past week has helped my Portuguese tremendously. I taught skype TRC this last Friday and it went really well. I understood everything, but there was a little bit of a struggle trying to conjugate my verbs right, but the person in Brazil told my teacher that I was speaking really well for only having a couple weeks, and that boosted my confidence. One of my teachers is trying to set up extra Skype sessions for this week, as he we've gone through all the language lessons, and then some, and he feels I'm ready as well. I've noticed that I can understand the people in the north of Brazil really well, but it gets harder the farther south they are.

(MTC Branch Presidency)

Elder Oviatt's mother sent me a package in preparation for General Conference this week, which I am so excited for. It was very nice of her. If three new apostles are named, it will be the first time in over 100 years that three have been named in one conference. Monday we watched the funeral service for Richard G. Scott. It definitely touched me how everyone respected him and how there was an overwhelming feeling of dignity and honor present. He was a great man. I've been reading a lot of his old talks this week. I've been inspired to be more like him.

 There's been quite a bit of sickness going around. Elder Leon has been sick. Hopefully he gets better. Last night was rough. I'm praying I don't get anything, but feel a little something coming on unfortunately.

Last Tuesday Craig Cardon of the Seventy spoke to us. And Sunday Stephen B. Allen, of the Seventy, and Managing Director of the Missionary Department. He was really funny, and gave a great talk. Sunday night, I watched a talk Elder Holland gave on earlier this year. Rest assured, it was Holland-worthy.

This is from a relatively recent BYU talk given by an English Professor there, titled, "Beethoven's Kiss:"

"I might exaggerate if I were to say that if you cannot write it you do not know it, but I am painfully accurate in saying that the weakening of written language through displacement by the image is a fundamental threat to virtually everything that is distinctively human, especially knowledge and intellect. Reliance on the image is a threat to the extension and development of the human capacity for precision of thought and for the ability to creatively manipulate connotative structures. Sophistication in languages is the fundamental fruit of the true intellect."

It doesn't really have anything to do with what I've been studying, but I really liked the quote, and believe that our language is declining and it's not good. One thing they ask, as missionaries, is to not use any slang.

I'll be able to write on Monday evening I believe before leaving here.

My time here has absolutely flown by. We cram so much into every day. As happy as I am to be leaving and going out, I have loved the MTC, and will always remember it. It really is sacred ground. Every building has been dedicated to have the Holy Ghost there. And congrats to Kaleb for his mission call!! Anchorage sounds awesome! I'm sad that I'll just miss him here. In a recent talk here, by Sister Cardon, she talked about how some people are prepared to serve missions in various ways and mentioned those who have siblings with disabilities. I immediately thought of Kaleb and how he'll be a fantastic companion in part because of that.

I seriously am struggling to convey my thoughts today. Arizona here I come!!! Enjoy conference, and pray for the new apostles whoever they are. That's got to be an insanely overwhelming calling to receive.


Elder Schenewark

P.S. I don't need anything right now. The glasses would be great, just make sure that it will be here by Monday!! And, if you know where my camera cord is, feel free to send that. I'll just by a card reader here if not. It's only a couple dollars anyway.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

With All My Love

Dear Boys,

I forgot ? to mention last week Granbury was in charge of the stake dance, and Porter was the DJ. Dad said he did a great job with the music and the mike. Cooper wore Dad's happy shorts, and is doing better asking girls to dance ;-)

Porter also took the ACT last week. You've seen how well he  did on the PSAT so we're keeping our fingers crossed!

Today we had a lunar eclipse, with a "blood moon" or "super moon." This is a friend of a friend's photo that is awesome! Did you guys get to go outside and see it?

Two of your aunts walked in their 3rd annual Boston Jimmy Fund walk in honor of your grandfather and uncle, and so many more whose lives are touched by cancer. Someday I'd like to walk that marathon with them!

Thursday was Cooper's tennis meet. Again, we had to leave before he was called up to play. One of these days! He lost 5-8, but I'm sure he was happy Breyer was there to entertain him with her antics. She touched a spider, hanging on a bar, thinking it was dead and it wasn't. Her scream was heard far and wide, although I don't think the tennis players stopped their volley.

Also on Thursday Porter attended his team dinner, at a pasta place and his least favorite thus far, and decided to watch the freshmen football game while waiting to be picked up. Around 7 p.m., right across the football field, and the street, at the Granbury airport, he witnessed a small airplane crash, and described it just like the news article. 

"GRANBURY – A team of federal investigators arrived in Granbury Friday morning after a single engine plane crashed, killing both the pilot and a passenger Thursday night. It all happened as a high school football game was being played at Granbury High School across the street. The names of the victims have not yet been released, but an investigator said the plane was registered to and flown by someone from the Oklahoma City area. An NTSB investigator and two FAA inspectors spent the morning taking pictures and examining the wreckage. It was burnt almost beyond recognition except for panels striped like the American flag. The 1987 model was described by Air Safety Investigator Tom Latson, as "experimental and amateur built" Buzby Mustang II. It crashed after takeoff, nose diving at the end of the runway of Granbury Regional Airport."

Friday evening Porter played in a home football game, saw playing time again, still no passes and no win for them.

Saturday morning was free museum day in Fort Worth. Of course your father wanted a road trip. He took Breyer to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, with Sawyer tagging along. They had a wonderful time, and I'll post the pictures this week. He's wanted to take her for a long time, but it's expensive. Of course they popped into the Science Museum next door, and that's all Breyer wanted to talk about: two tarantulas, a rattlesnake in a cage, and digging for dinosaur bones in the sand. She does love her creatures. We had a gecko sneak in the house, and of course she's the one that wants to catch it.
Saturday morning Miller had his first fall baseball game. He was bumped up to kid pitch league, and started off his game first at bat, and pitching. He is very accurate, had a few hits, a few strikes, and of course some balls. He only pitched one inning, as did two other boys. They lost, but he was one of their two runs. He got on base with a single, and stole his way home.

Sawyer played that afternoon. He too was bumped up a league, and plays with 8th graders. They're huge! He pitched the entire game, did a great job, but their competitors had better bats. Sawyer practices Monday and Friday, Miller Tuesday and Thursday, and with games on Saturday that's a lot of baseball. But it's for a short time, and I, and they, love it.

(pope mobile) in Philly

During Elder D. Todd Christofferson's presentation Thursday at the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said, "When we planned this [event], we tried to reach out to different faith communities to get some help on how to be good families. I don't think anybody does it better than the Mormon community and the Latter-day Saints. I'm grateful that you are willing to help teach us." Pope Francis was there, here in the United

This week the Pope came to visit the United States, Philadelphia, New York and DC. Some of the things I read included him visiting a prison, stopping a car carrying a disabled child, touring the 9-11 site and speaking to the United Nations.

Also interesting in the news, to you, was the announcement that Boehner was retiring as Speaker of the House. Rick Perry and Scott Walker have both withdrawn from the presidential race.

There are many in today's world spouting their version of truth: religious leaders, politicians, educators. Paul had it right when he described the apostasy and perilous times of the last days in 2nd Timothy 3:7— Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Truth was heard this Saturday evening at the session of General Women's Conference. The talks and music were lovely. This is one of my favorite quotes from President Uchtdorf: "As you walk through life, I hope you will feel a spring in your step as you trust the Lord and continue on your own bright path of discipleship. Faith will lead you to open your eyes to the things Heavenly Father has in store for you. Love for God and His children will continue to brighten your path, even on dark and cloudy days."

At the end of this week we'll have the unusual privilege of sustaining three new apostles - I assume you heard Elder Scott passed away this week. What a memorable weekend. I look forward to hearing truth. And I especially look forward to hearing from you!

I have your glasses ordered and delivered. Now I just have to get your package to you before you leave. Is there anything else you need?



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Psst! Porter's PSAT

September 23, 2015




Granbury High School seniors Isabella Elkins, Porter Schenewark, and Tommy Wallace were recently named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. The announcement was made by principal Jeremy Ross on September 23, 2015.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for National Merit scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Recognition of high-achieving students is essential to advancing educational excellence in our nation, according to the NMSC. Commended Students represent some of the most academically talented students in the country.

Library, Leaf bug, and Laughs