So, I'm here in Ourinhos again after leaving the house this morning at 6:45 a.m. and making a mad dash to the rodoviaria (bus station) followed by a three hour bumpy cruise through all of the surrounding and adjacent towns to Marília on our way here.
We came to watch the district meeting and also do an interview, and also because let's face it, it's just plain fun down here with Elders Haws and Halpin.
I've yet to iron my shirt but I'll get on that soon : ) Here's some of the cities I passed through before falling asleep : ) Leperpicio, Novo Colombia Ocauçu and Campos Novo Paulista. Due to the Cathloic upbringings, every town generally has two things: a large fiberglass patron saint statue and a Catholic church in the center of the town. We saw St. John to St. Ignatius today and then some.
This week saw us all around again in the zone, and not so much in our area, though we taught one young man and his family, presenting a present of a cactus to him as he is a gardening master and Elder Carrell is from Arizona.
(flame street juggler)
We attended district meeting with Elder Carneiro and he did a really splendid job of bringing the house down with his training on obedience. As a result, I believe, his district baptized 2 this week. Our mission also this week broke its single week record for baptisms with 56.
We also baptized two great guys, one 18 and one almost 19. One was a contact in the street 2 weeks ago in a division. We went back to that area after the other elders failed to follow up with him and he was ready and was baptized Saturday. a future missionary for sure.
The other has been looking into the church for the last nine years but moved here recently. He's got his own interior design business and already marked to marry in the temple in Campinas in one year : ) All in all it was good week!
Next week we'll be in Londrina for the leaders counsel. Talked with Elder Bennett this morning and it was good to hear his voice.
(playing "I'm tidy" on his companion ;-)
Alright, this is shorter but I hope I took lots of pictures, and I promise that my journal is being filled up and with more details that are here : ) I do need help with BYU and I need to decide if I'm going back fall or winter and then I'll proceed, but I need my SSN and maybe the password information that I left with you and maybe you could do some research on deadlines for me on applications and FAFSA. It should be pretty quick though.
How are you? How was your week? Did you get to stay home more? What do you need to do to get back into school at BYU? Hunter's deadline for applying to BYU is the first of December. More business? I tried to contact the mothers of Elders Halpin and Haws, but neither have answered so far. I left message on Haws blog page, which has not been updated recently, but hopefully they'll find it soon.
And for a little news. Easing back into the world is difficult, it's good to do it line by line :-) The Boston Red Sox lost last night, against the Cardinals, and are now 1-2 in the World Series. Dad and Grampy have had "phun" phone calls, while watching the games, talking about anything that makes them laugh together.
We read about a Hawaiian surfer, and former boxer, who fought a shark and won by punching a shark that bit down on his surfboard. He was able to paddle to shore safely. Your surfer Dad always says to punch the shark in the nose, so I guess he was right.
Lolo Jones, a world class and Olympic hopeful in hurdles, has been selected as the brakeman for the Women's Olympic bobsled team, a rare occurrence for her to be chosen for summer and winter Olympic sports.
Other headlines passing through this week include the CDC announcing we've reached the end of antibiotics, Mexico detaining a growing number of undocumented Cubans, NYC subways overrun with homeless, and states move to tax miles, black box on car will record trips. Not the most uplifting news, but that's the world we live in. We also read about an oar fish, found off the California coast, that is the largest ever found. Then, we read that the Japanese believe finding an oar fish is a sign of impending doom. Makes me smile. California is a hot bed of doom just by being near the massive fault line. Good thing we are blessed to have the good news, or the gospel.
It sounds like the missionaries assigned to Brazil are still having visa issues. One mother commented that, "Our son was just made Zone Leader in Montana. He has been in Montana 6 months now. The mission President called him to tell him of his new assignment and to also let him know he has the choice to stay in Montana permanently instead of waiting for his Visa to Brazil." Other mothers have written about how their son has been waiting for eight months, and still no visa. Wow. I'm grateful you were able to go. Even if it arrived the day before you were to fly out, it arrived.
As for news in the house, I remember that This week Porter has been going to open gym to get ready for basketball tryouts, probably next Saturday. He has played a lot of ultimate frisbee with the brothers in the backyard, gone with Dad to football practice to kick, and took more photos at school events. Hunter has been counting down the days until his braces come off, and that day is tomorrow. It will be nice to see him smile without metal in his mouth! Porter's teeth have changed drastically, which I suppose is the reason we pay so much money, but his were especially needy.
This week was also spirit week at the boys' schools, and we thought we would share with you a few of their outfits. Here is Miller looking mighty fine in his Cars pajamas on pajama day!
Here is Cooper on tacky tourist day. He actually won the award for the most tacky tourist, and scored a couple of tickets to a boys basketball game!
I popped into a pet store to pick up guinea pig food and a fish tank filter, and as Breyer was with me, visited all the tanks: spiders, lizards, birds, ferrets, hamsters, and rabbits. Of course she wanted to hold a rabbit, and of course a sales lady was more than happy to accommodate her, and somehow I came home with a rabbit for Sawyer. I reminded myself of my father when, having had my hamster killed by the cat, he spent his last $3 and bought me a new one. That was a defining moment for me, at the same age as Sawyer, as I realized my father loved me, he was aware of my feelings and how sad I was, and wanted me to know he was aware of what I was going through. Sawyer spent days before school began repairing and strengthening his rabbit cage, and has asked repeatedly how and when could he get a rabbit. So now we have a rabbit, and Sawyer is a good friend. He needed this in his little life at this moment, as sometimes Sawyer and his intensity just needs to take a break from the vicissitudes of life and hang with the bunny.
And, just a few photos for just because. Your silly sister playing in the shipment of dog food;
Cooper's crab picture (done on blue paper), and your two cousins and uncle convincing their roommate to switch to men ties.
Tuesday we were back to the hand doctor, wherein Cooper's pins were removed. Weird to see metal pins just being pulled out of his skin. He's being sent to physical therapy, ONLY with a certified hand specialist! All for his left little pinky! And of course you've seen the hiking pictures from my hike adventure with the cub scouts. Has to have been one of my all-time favorite activities in all of my four years with these boys. A twilight hike in a fall forest is awesome!
Wednesday morning Dad and I went to Cooper's first home meet. It was also "Super Hero" day at school, so Cooper literally and figuratively was Superman. He did a great job buzzing in! It's so fun to see a different side of him (one that talks) that we don't see as much at home. Their record is now 3-0, and he's a main contributor in helping Porter practice for Jeopardy. He received an email that stated, "We are happy to confirm your appointment to participate in the full audition for the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament, for Season 30. That will consist of playing a “mock version” of Jeopardy! to assess your game-playing skills, a short personality interview, and being re-tested with a new 50-question test. If you pass all the requirements, you will be considered for our Jeopardy Teen Tournament." He will be tested for two hours, and can have one person wait for him in the waiting room. If he goes on, his airfare and hotel would be covered to Los Angeles. The first question he had after reading this email was, "Do you think the Lozadas and Grandpa Schenewark would want tickets?" He's just a little excited!
Thursday Breyer accidentally locked me outside the house. It was a COLD day, and I had run out to warm up the car, and she turned the dead bolt on the door. No other doors were open, and it was just me and your little sister, separated by wood, having a conversation. She finally unlocked the lock, and I was able to warm up. It was also the Optimist bowling night. Their advertisement said prizes to the top scorer, which was Dad, and to the best costume, which you can judge for yourself, but nothing was handed out. They were all a little disappointed to walk away but it was a fun evening.
Friday was my turn to read books in Miller's kindergarten class. He was SO happy to see me! I got the biggest hug. He's a great squeezer. I always try to pick out books that make the kids laugh, as well as teach them something.
Friday night found us all at the football game. It was the golf's turn to work the concession stands, and it was cold! Hunter literally ripped open and poured hot chocolate packs all night, and if he wasn't pouring he was filling the cups with HOT water. I mostly worked the cash register. I'm a fast change maker. Fairland won again, so this week's game will determine whether or not they go to the play offs.
Saturday I left all the boys at home, and Breyer and I rode with a friend to visit her friends that are Amish. It was well worth the 3.5 ride each way, kind of like your bus rides you take. The family was so hospitable! Her mother has been visiting this family since 1970, after initially writing the tourism department of Ohio state and asking them if there was an Amish family that wouldn't mind a visit from their family. This family had 12 sons! and 1 daughter. I've got nothing on her! Eight of the sons were there, and seven daughter-in-laws, and some of the children. There are 93 grandchildren, and 47 great grandchildren, with the oldest being 12 years old! The Amish population is NOT dwindling! Everyone has at least 7 or 8 children a piece. Some of the most interesting things I learned about them was that their prayers are mostly silent, a way for individuals to pray themselves. The men grow beards when they commit to the church, but only long beards when they marry. As I sat in their home and watched these brothers talk, I felt like I was looking at the seven dwarfs.
The men eat first and sit together. I wonder what they thought of me plopping next to them on the couch! I think I mostly amused them with my ignorance! My friend had asked me to wear a skirt so I did, and had my hair up. There are different sects of Amish, and this family was more moderate. Their appliances (fridge, freezer, washer, light) were all operated by gas. I'm not sure about the bathroom. It was dark, and contained what looked like three outhouse doors and so I chose to wait. :-) The children under six, before they go to school, cannot speak English. I wish someone would have said something! I couldn't get any of them to speak to me! I had fun finding the teenage girls and talking with them. I kept them laughing with my questions, such as "What do you do for fun? and "What will your wedding dress look like?" and "Why have you been engaged for three years?" We have been invited to an Amish wedding in the spring! so I'm sure I'll be back. I will be writing one or two of them a letter, to thank them. Maybe I'll have a new pen pal! Look for pictures next week.
We were contacted by Elder Leonardo last night, your trusty companion who loves you dearly. He spoke so highly of you, and how he would ask you over and over for stories from our family. He talked of his hopes and dreams of going to BYU Idaho, and the steps he has yet to climb to make it happen. He has an international calling plan that's free for a year. He really wants us to go pick you up in Brazil, and he would meet us. His English was great! He wanted to know how you were doing now, and I sent him the address to our blog so he can read your weekly letters. He's really looking forward to that. He spoke of how he could watch you, not saying a word, and still learn from you.
Today your father set apart Sawyer's friend. He did a beautiful job! We were very touched that the mother wanted Jarrod to do this. They're coming over tomorrow night for FHE, as the missionaries are teaching him the new member discussions. Today Sawyer found this little friend. He was very excited to share his find with you!
In reference to your Elder Ballard question last week, I quote this portion of his general conference talk: "Six weeks ago I received a letter from a very successful member missionary family, the Munns family of Florida. They wrote: “Dear Elder Ballard, 30 minutes after the worldwide broadcast on hastening the work of salvation, we held our family missionary council. We were thrilled to find that our teenage grandchildren wanted to be included. We’re happy to report that since our council meeting, we have expanded our family teaching pool by 200 percent." Did you know you knew the Munns family of Florida? They are the same family that worked every morning on their big pine tree farm to raise money for the missions of their thirteen children. And, he was mission president of the Boston mission while you were living there. Your father drove Sis. Munns around, with other wives whose husbands were attending a regional meeting, on a tour of Boston.
And for my final thoughts, I share with you a few words of Second Nephi, 33:1, "For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men." And in the words of Elder Bednar, "Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify, and do so with great spiritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter." I would carry a picture of the heart, with those two words, everywhere I went, to help others understand ultimately it is up to them. Always. The agency is theirs and theirs alone.
Also, in chapter 29: 6, 7, 8, 10 these verses ring more true living here and living now, than ever before: "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible...Know ye not that there are more nations than one?...Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you...that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written."
More to be written are the key words for you this week. Write away! We love your pictures and your words. Your sweet spirit shines through, and they become a testimony of what you're doing and the man you've become.
"We are created as much from the dust of eternity as we are from the dust of the earth. Every one of us has potential we can scarcely imagine." Joseph B. Wirthlin
“We write to taste life twice once in the moment and retrospect.” Anias Nin
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
When we are filled with Love, we can make a profound difference. It's what we came to do. Ardeth G. Kapp
Men are what their mothers made them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers. Dieter F. Utchdorf
I want to be the kind of Mom that would remember to get the broken Wheezy off of the shelf, fix his squeaker, and put him back in the toy box, having hope that my boys will still want to play.
11 out of 12 original astronaut corps (89%) who have walked on the moon have been an Eagle Scout