Sunday, January 21, 2018

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

I'm writing this on low fumes. Bear with me. I hope my thoughts are coherent!

Miller surprised me a bit this week, one day while driving home together. He told me he wanted to invent the first pair of gloves that are padded like soccer goalie gloves, and sticky like football receiver gloves. Apparently he’s used padded gloves, and sticky gloves, but wants both features in a pair of gloves. He also told me he’s going to have his own sport company, named “Morts,” a combination of Miller and sports. He even has a shoe on paper he’s designed, and his M logo. I asked him what his slogan should be, and he liked, Because You Can.

Miller had three games yesterday, two recreational and one prime. He’s so fun to watch, very quick, smooth, sneaky. 1-2.

This week our weather lived up to its Texas reputation by going from 12 degrees to 70, in three days. The flu season is still running rampant across the nation. School districts in Texas are now closing due to teacher shortages, and heavy student absences.

Sawyer rolled his left ankle, inward, Wednesday at the end of practice. He was not able to put any weight on it, and had help hopping out to the car, still a bit teary. Obviously, the picture is not from this week. Not thinking clearly, I stopped at the urgent care center on the way home, just to see if they offered x-ray services. I walked in the door and saw bodies in the chairs, leaning against the walls, and lined up at the desk, and left. It was like walking into a flu petri dish. Thank goodness Sawyer had remained in the car. He was pulled out of school Thursday for an x-ray, and will be recuperating only from a bad sprain. Update: Sawyer’s ankle is on the mend. He’s moved from crutches to wearing just a boot. He was the cheerleader for his team at their weekly game, which they barely won, and weekend tournament.

Our front door-handle works wonderful. It’s so nice to be able to get into the house without a struggle. Our dryer, probably the heating element, has not been working. When a co-worker of Dad’s heard him on the phone asking questions of a repair service, he offered him one of the three dryers he has. He got married and combined households, and the house they bought together had one in the garage. Dad got it in on your birthday holiday, and it works better than our dryer ever did brand new. Love me some hand-me-downs.

When I was asking your sister about her frequently wet underpants, a topic I know is a bit personal, she made me laugh with, “It’s okay Mom. I’m a girl, and I live with six boys. It’s hard to get a turn in the bathroom.” Okay. She told me one evening in bed, when she wanted to plan her birthday party, she misses talking with you. Know how much she thinks of you and loves you, and that she cherishes the memories you tried hard to make with her.

Breyer was invited to a rodeo by a classmate – the Fort Worth Stock Show – a very big rodeo. And, they were box tickets. She had a blast. She made us smile every time she talked about the “radio.” She convinced us to buy our own tickets, and your father and I will be having our own date night in a few weeks. It’s in town for a month.

We heard about Nora being fussy yesterday – a first for her. She’s still sleeping at night, just needing a bit more care this weekend. Is she not just precious?

You celebrated a birthday this week – happy birthday! You came two weeks early, precipitated by a snow storm moving into the area, and have been going full steam ever since.  Your brothers always want to claim the climbed before crawl honors, but that belongs just to you.

Cooper had his first tennis match of the new season this week. He played six matches and won four. His team received medals, probably for fourth place out of seven teams. Not bad for only having one practice.

Hopefully the pictures were worth 1000 words! Love to get some back from you! You've been in a bit of a dry spell.

Your brothers enjoyed being together, visiting a Brazilian festival this weekend. Hunter played games and ate with Tanner Friday evening.

That will be all for this week. We love you dearly, and are so thankful for your place in our family. We're holding your spot open. Stay safe!



Saturday, January 20, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

College Correspondent

Reap what you sow

I think I've recovered from my illnesses. Admittedly, the first few days of classes weren't fun. But they were doable, and that was a blessing. My schedule looks set. I received permission to take 20 credits this semester, and will be doing the following courses:

-History 202: World Civilization 1500 to present

-Portuguese 321

-History 200: Historian's Craft

-History 356: History of Brazil

-Religion 211: New Testament part 1 (covering the four gospels)

-Religion 261: Family History

-Business Man. 372: Entrepreneurship

-Tennis for beginners (starts halfway through the semester)

I'm enjoying my classes so far, and am learning much, and they have challenged how I think, which I appreciate. Part of my rationale of quitting my job was due to my desire to spend more time at school, participating in activities there. I've been able to do that, and that has been well worth the time. I've begun participating in a new club, The Fidelio Society. It is similar to the Toqueville Society but focuses more on religion and works in conjunction with the Wheatley Institute. I was asked if I'd be willing to be part of the leadership, and accepted. Besides the obvious responsibilities, one perk is that I'll be invited to meet with and debate with the scholars and visitors that the Wheatley Institute brings in. I'm looking forward to that.

I was surprised with a package of dates shipped to me. Thank you Aunt Janel! I made her recipe of date muffins, and while they didn't turn out perfect, i love them! They have quickly become one of my favorites and a surefire breakfast. Date pie is intriguing as well....

On Friday, I went to Salt Lake City early in the morning to attend on person the funeral of Pres. Monson. It was held in the Conference Center, and about 10,000 people showed up for the noon service. It was amazing to be there and listen to Pres. Nelson and Pres. Eyring and Elder Uchtdorf pay homage to this great man. Afterwards, I had planned to visit the Family history Library. Unfortunately that had closed for the day unbeknownst to me, but I was able to go to the Salt Lake Temple.

Upon returning to Provo, I quickly got ready for a date. I was doubling with my roommate Jeremiah and his girlfriend Maddie. She had arranged a date with her friend Alyssa Fenton. She moved around a lot, but finished high school in Pittsburgh, and is studying accounting at BYU. The original plan was to go to some hot springs. However, after driving there we discovered that the road had been closed off due to snow. So it was back to Provo. We ate some great chocolate chip cookies at Chip Cookies, and then went bowling. After a hiatus of a few years, I bowled better than ever before. I won the first round, and the second game I was over 100 after 6 frames. And then our hour time limit ran out. I had fun, and enjoyed getting to know Alyssa.

Saturday, my friend Brian Crane came down to visit from Idaho. He pulled in around 4, and I met him in the parking lot to go golfing. The weather was beautiful, and the course in fair condition. And I played. I birdied the first hole, after smashing a drive and chipping to two feet. On the second, I stuffed an 8-iron 175 yards to five feet away, and the round was on. I ended up with some slight miscues, but on the 7 hole executive course which we played, finished at one over par. I'll take that! Look at those snow-capped mountains! Just beautiful scenery.

Part of the reason Brian came was to go on a date with a girl living here, so while he did that, I went to visit Naomi. Its always a good time with her, and I was happy to hear she interviewed with the University of Utah grad PT program.

Sunday was church, and the roll out of our new Sunday School program. We've gone from 0 teachers to 8 in three weeks, getting to know many people without callings in the process, and are teaching four classes weekly: Gospel Doctrine, Gospel Principles, Temple Prep, and a special Family Class, which combines elements of a few manuals.

After the meetings, Brian and I went with Erin and Ashley Ferry to SLC for the YSA devotional with Elder and Sister Uchtdorf. It was marvelous! Many times, youth ask the same sort of questions, and receive the same, valid answers. However, this time, the answers while essentially teaching the same thing, seemed much more relatable this time, and I learned a lot about this journey of mortality. Alyssa already had plans, so I set up Brian with Erin, and went with Ashley. She is from Cedar Hills Utah, served a mission in Guatemala, and is studying nursing at UVU. I was amazed at the number of attendees. Asking an usher and security guard, I was told that while tough to estimate, the organizers had expected 6,000-7,000 people.  Instead, 30,000 young single adults showed up! We didn't even get a seat in the conference center, and watched it in a theater there.

Monday, Brian and I went to play basketball in the morning. It was a good workout. No more losing to Sawyer! We played on the same team as cousin Greg who happened to be there, and whipped the other team.

I am starting my garden. I've been collecting largeish aluminum cans (29 ounce), and plan to fill them with dirt and start an indoor garden. Any ideas on what to plant?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Spa Party!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Letter #22 Fight Night

Now that everyone is like "Oh my gosh, what a rebel, he fought someone?," no, I was not the one fighting.

BUT, 11:00 or so at night, I get roused from my five foot cushionless bed. This better be a matter of life or death, Elder. -Oh, it is actually. -Alright, wake up Elder Orteney, let's go

Right outside our house, about forty people gather, a couple with guns and knives, making a circle around two dudes, vaguely resembling Laurel and Hardy in size and shape.

From what I could understand through the window (don't worry, I wasn't dumb enough to go outside), one dude was caught with the woman of the other dude and that dude called his dude friends to bring their dude guns and kill the first dude. But, the first dude also called his dude friends to bring their dude guns and dude up with him. Typical dude-off.

But, not all the dudes wanted to shoot their dude guns at all the other dudes, so they proposed a dude fight, just the two dudes in a ring in the street. -Elder Schenewark, what do we do.
-I'll call the Ward Mission Leader, have him call the police to come here and break it up

-Hello, Lucas
-Elder, I'm on a date right now, this better be a matter of life and death
-As a matter of fact, it is. But, first, date? What's her name, she there right now, why didn't i know about this?
-She's right here, next to me
-Want to look real manly, super quick?
-You wanna call the police for us to come break up this fight and prevent a shootout outside our house real quick?
-Huh wha...
-Thanks, love you bye

And that's about how it went.
Police showed up, only a couple of punches were thrown, no shots fired, Lucas looked like a hero in front of Silvia ;) and I got to go back to bed.

One of the brothers in our ward invited us over for lunch. Steak, what a lovely night. BUT, the man went full lamanite on that cold cut. As he was sticking the stuff on the grill, he was casually gnawing on an uncooked sausage. I like my meat rare, extremely rare, but I wasn't gonna go for the other sausage he tried to get me to try. Cold and pinkish white with ice built up the the outside, it takes a real man to gnaw down one of those.

We were walking in the street, both swinging umbrellas, when we heard the scream of an old lady on the sidewalk. At noon, there was this rat, not dog sized but getting up there, staring here down and slowly moving towards her, like a tiger.
Happy Gilmore style golf club/baseball bat swing with my umbrella
Onomonopeia aside, made good contact, sent him into the wall, maybe not killing him, but definitley putting him on the ground for a while.
Then the neighbors cat appeared in the window. Then he pounced, no more rat.

-Oh my goodness young men, you must have been sent by God.
-Well, now that you mention it, he sent us here to deliver a message to you. Do you have a second to here it?

And we've also been teaching a pastor, named Adauto. Good guy, little strange but open to hear and learn, plus he's come to church a couple of times with us. But the problem he has right now, is that he believes that there are soo many churches because God gives us various paths to follow, more individual to the person, depending on their likes and stuff, it was a little hard to understand. Plus, it didn't really makes sense to me. He didn't give us multiple paths, he didn't give us multiple churches.
He gave us One, His son Jesus Christ. And His son established His one true church, here on the Earth.

But, it was lost, after He died and His apostles were killed. When this happened, there wasn't "one true church" on the Earth, there were thousands of churches all with parts of the truth, but never the whole, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ.

But God is our loving Father in Heaven. He wouldn't let His children dwindle and die in unbelief.
So when the time was right, He restored His church, here on the Earth once more, through means of a living, breathing prophet.

And this is the message we shgare down here. That the true church of Christ exists on the Earth again, and He invites all to come unto Him.

I love you all, miss you
Happy Birthday to me again,

Elder Arnold Palmer Meets 'My Fair Lady'

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Early Birthday Wishes

Hello Brother Schenewark

It is with joy that I come through this email to thank you for your son Elder Schenewark being a missionary in our Wing, our family feels very blessed with his visits and his companion.

Your son has made a wonderful Mission, I know that this is his third child to serve in Brazil, as we are grateful for it. Through his son I know a little of his family, this past week here in our house I had the opportunity to accompany when together with his companion gave part of a lecture, he said:

"For me the best example of long-suffering is my parents, I do not know how many times I needed their understanding to help me"

His Portuguese has improved a lot, today he understands everything and talks to everyone, he has a great love for our people and the missionary work.

Is he celebrating his birthday this month? Am I right? which day? could you tell me?

I wait and a hug to all your family.

Brother Jackson Tota

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

What.A.Week.The flu is here. Extra bad strain this year, people coughing every where. The flu is overwhelming emergency rooms and has left 20 children dead. Yuck! We don't want it!

Early Monday morning I was at work when the news station playing at work announced the death of President Monson, and all I’ve felt is peace. It’s wonderful to know who leads and guides us today. Dad told me there’s a special broadcast Tuesday morning, and then a news brief. Other news worthy events this week include:

There’s a volcano in Papua New Guinea that’s become active, and now authorities have ordered the evacuation of some 3,000 people from Biem Island amid fears of a volcanic eruption.

Miller’s decided to do his science project on erosion. We were talking about the massive California fires that burned millions of acres, leaving behind a barren, charred landscape. Tuesday the area was inundated with rain, causing massive mud. Four days later they’re still searching for victims in Southern California after dozens of homes were swept away or buried. 19 bodies have been recovered.

Sis. Oscarson’s talk on The Needs Before Us is especially meaningful in light of all these natural disasters and the passing of our prophet, stressed the importance of serving family first, then those in our ward family and local community. “Changing the world begins with strengthening your own family.” How much more meaningful this makes your handwritten letters to us. Sis.  Oscarson said, President Monson said, “I believe…that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish and in effect save their lives.”

Sawyer is in braces.Jarrod took him for a records, molds appointment, and he came home covered. The top rack. He'll have to go back for more. He's excited.He says this is the age you should get braces,as every one else is in them.

Sawyer had a tournament in Stephenville this weekend. They won their game Friday night by one point, lost early Saturday morning by a point, and played for third place in the afternoon and handily won. Highlights were Sawyer making all 15 attempts at the line except 1; an underneath the basket lay-up that was done over his shoulder, backwards. The whole stand of waiting basketball players from other teams had their mouths hanging open, and looked at each other with awe over the shot. It was a beauty. When the game came down to one second in overtime, and their team was down by three, Sawyer was the one chosen to attempt the half-court shot. It lined up perfectly, just didn’t go in, a very respectable attempt.

Miller was back playing basketball as well. Did I mention we put up a new backboard on the driveway? So both boys have been shooting as much as the weather would permit. He had a double header, and was the leading scorer in both games. He too was given the shot to untie the game, and his ringed in and came back out. After double overtimes, the game remained tied, and his team still undefeated.

Since we feed the missionaries Friday, and were not sure if we’d both be able to go to Sawyer’s game, I ended up handing them their own chicken pot pie to take home and eat. I hope they didn’t mind. I know they enjoy sitting at the table and conversing with your father.

Breyer asked to take a picture of Nora to school. She had brought one in to show her teacher, and her teacher kept asking her to bring it back and show the class. When I asked her what everyone said, she remarked, “Oh, you know, lots of “She’s so cute!” and “Oh my goodness!”  Now read those again and imagine her big blue eyes, with her hands on her hips. She was chosen as “Good Kid” of the week, and brought home her Oak Woods School sticker. She was a bit disgruntled we didn’t let her stick it on a bumper. It’s hanging on the fridge, unpeeled.

Breyer went to her first gymnastics class. I didn’t get to go this week, but she couldn’t stop talking about it or demonstrating what she’d learned from the time she walked in the door to the time she went to bed. The class runs 7-8 p.m., so there’s not much time to eat a snack, shower, etc.

We learned recently that Tanner has started the Dad Dictionary. He's got such samples as "banko," "kabang,"and "kajinkies." And, he has them as used in context. Pretty funny. You'll enjoy adding new words when you get back. You can probably add a few entries as well ;-)

Speaking of Dad,he had to put on a new door handle on the front door, as it was difficult to get into the front door unless someone opened it from the inside. We could not believe how much a lock is, never mind a new front door. So glad he can help with the minor home repairs.

I couldn't help but think of the Savior's admonition to knock. What happens when you knock but the door can't open?

Stay safe. No more robberies, car accidents, or bus adventures. You're giving me gray hair.



Hello Porter,

We look forward to your letter. I think the world looks forward to your letter. I will be leaving here to go take Cooper to the Dentist. School starts for me tomorrow, but today every one but mom is home.

I need to write each week and will work to do so. I need to write a little each day. I never have any time on Sundays, plus I always let your mom have the computer to finish the letter she writes.

I have wanted to include a scripture each week. I got that walking stick that your Grandfather gave you from his mission (somebody made it for him and it has all these scriptures citations carved on it. I have had it hanging in the library for the past three months, but will start today. Perhaps the scripture will be helpful.

The first one is Jacob 1:19 -  And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

There is the first scripture. I have not counted to see how many are on the stick, but I have started from the top and will go down the stick.

Exercise and eating well. I am thinking of it. I need to have some good lunch ideas going back to school, that I need to prepare ahead of time.

Love you. Be safe. Be wise. Be Obedient.


Also, I want you to know how wonderful your written letters mailed home. They are a great treasure for me.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

College Correspondent

Jazz in my blood

I'll try to quickly hit the last few weeks. First, finals ended fantastically. I ended with my highest GPA for a semester at BYU and given that I worked roughly 25 hours per week, on average, and led a healthy social life, I am quite pleased with the balance. Before leaving on Thursday to go to Vegas, I went out with Lynsie again on Wednesday night. We delivered some fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies all over town, spreading holiday cheer. Caroling not included. She had chosen one family that is Brasilian and are not members. While she did not know beforehand, it turns out they are from my last area on the mission! It was incredible to be able to talk to them. I would say it compares to going to Germany and meeting someone from the same town in South Carolina. I promised to invite them over for some Brasilian BBQ. Also, when we got there, her brothers best friend was visiting them, and he served in my mission, leaving just shortly before I arrived. It was a great night.

Thursday we drove to Vegas. Nora behaved admirably. Stopping for dinner at 5 Guys in St. George, we arrived about 8 pm. Friday morning we headed off for a quick peak at The Hoover Dam. I made the difficult decision to pass using the hot tub, but took advantage of the in-house organ. Because I had been asked to play in Granbury's ward sacrament meeting. I am not used to playing for accompaniment and struggled at a time or two. The music kept going though, and we got through all three songs. I like to spice it up with more of a jazzy feel, going quick on the easy parts, slow on the hard ones. The beat is more of a suggestion anyway.

It was of course wonderful to make it to Granbury and see everybody. Mom has already written much, so I won't recap. I got everything I wanted and more for Christmas. There is nothing like being home for Christmas.

I should have seen it coming. Sunday night, I had a nightmare, and that invariably means sickness, usually a fever. Nevertheless, I managed to make it through the day, even beating Sawyer twice in horse. However, Tuesday - Friday I was down for the count. Those days will be remembered by movie marathons using the projector, wrapped up in sleeping bags, lying on a heating pad. No popcorn. Actually, I endured nightmares for three straight nights. The last one nearly did me in. Think flying mice, moving their mouths like hungry hippos, and their tails, appearing starched lined out stiff behind them. During much of my sleepless nights, I spent writing, and I realized, I am a writer. It is something I really enjoy.

Leaving half-dead on Saturday, I made it to the airport perfectly timed. Dropped my bags off, made it through security, (travel tip #32 wear a leather coat with big pockets.) and ambled my way to my gate and into the boarding line. Oh yeah. Then, boarding, who should I see, but Elder Bradley, my first mission companion! He was going from Michigan to Dallas to SLC. I sat next to him, and we caught up and reminisced on our time in San Luiz, Arizona.

This week was the passing of Pres. Monson. It was a reminder that life is fleeting as a dream. One day we will be held accountable, not jst to God, but to ourselves, for what we did and who we became. Pres. Monson chose and cultivated a life of service, of love, of teaching, and of leading others unto the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ. How noble a life! What are you doing with yours? As I've reflected on that, one statement in my call as a missionary came to mind.

Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord...

May we follow the example of Pres. Monson and wear our lives out in service.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Letter #21

I mean, it has to be someone right? The first person to be baptized and confirmed in the new year. It may be Marcelo do Prado, Jr. Maybe. Point is, Marcelo was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday bright and early. There are pictures, I just don't have them right now.

But, good week, we broke the dead cat streak finally. Lots of rain. Lots of traveling to the edge of our area to meet with Marcelo (and his steak chef father-in-law, who knows I like my steak redder than a Coca-Cola can).

First off, it's no secret that I have amazing forearms. Elder Orteney and I, broke down 500 chairs and stacked them in the attic. This meant Elder Orteney handed me the chairs and I carried them up the ladder. 500. We finished and the Stake Patriarch comes up to me and says, "Elder, I know why you have big forearms." -Okay? "Actually, I know why one of your forearms is way bigger than the other." -What you getting at here? "It's because you only use one of them. I just watched you stack 500 chairs, and only one of your hands ever touched the chairs. You didn't let go of the support beam the whole time. Never forget this Elder, sometimes you need to let go of the beam so your forearms are equal."

If you have any idea what he meant there, please feel free to let me know, I think it was a weird Patriach metaphor that I'll understand in about 40-60yrs.

BUT got me thinking. We all have a hand on the support beam, that legendary iron rod. But, we don´t need to let go of this beam to grow like we should (feel like I'm reaching here but we're going). The way we grow isn't to let go of the rod and move of to the side. That's how we get lost. We keep that hand firmly on the rod and keep moving forward.

Don't let go of the gospel of Jesus Christ and you can't fall. I know Marcelo has that ability and his testimony confirmed that to me. He knows the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the face of the Earth, the Kingdom of God, re-established so we, as His children, can continue to grow and press forward. But, we must move foreward.

I love you all, happy birthday to my dearest grandmother (girls love a guy who loves his grandmother ;)) and happy new year

Love, with affection, sincerely yours,

Elder Popeye the Sailor Man