Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Letter #70

Dearest Family, 

This week was special and one of the weeks that you feel you reaped more than you sowed, that you were partaking of the fruit you have betimes labored so arduously to plant. My planning/study session on accelerating the work:

We baptized a lady and her two sons this week. They are truly special people. We contacted them last week on our way to the church. Elder Arnaud and I were rounding the corner to turn the street when the Spirit did one of his "oh know you don't" promptings and we did a double back and invited her to church. She responded that she had already gone a couple of times but had recently separated from her husband and moved to our area of the city. She hadn't been baptized because her former husband had not been supportive. Later in the week she would tell us that in that exact moment as she leaned against the wall she was praying to our Father to show her the truth. The day before in work she had heard so many different and confusing things as others talked about their churches that she had left also feeling confused and a little bit lost in the world. What a special moment it was to present the truth to this lovely daughter of God. She has, on her own, changed many of her habits and lifestyles and is an avid reader now of the Book of Mormon. 

Interesting note: Brasil has changed the size of their currency in accordance with its respective value, e.g. 2$ very small, 5$ a little bigger etc. I got ahold of two notes this week and thought you'd find it interesting. It's to stop counterfeiters who wash the paper and print false notes.

Also special this week was an interview I did on Saturday with another lady. She is an ex Buddhist from a Catholic family turning very literally against a tide of opinions to come into the church. She wasn't ready this week but will be on Saturday. What was cool was helping her recognize all the very real spiritual proofs she had that these things are true, how she has felt etc. And just as we were terminating the interview I responded to one more question she had. In the middle of my talking she asked me to stop, startled and said, "Wow, I don't believe it. You just answered another doubt of mine that I hadn't told you. The one that was really bothering me most." I admit I was rather stunned. But the spirit was strong and I felt that greatest of joys, to be an instrument in His hands. The missionaries teaching her related that Sunday when she went one last time to her Buddhist congregation she left early, came home and said, "Yep, I don't feel anything like I do when I go to the LDS church." : )

These stories are sporadic but I felt they're better than just planner notes : ) Sunday was capped off with a confirmation, playing the piano, a man showing up to church who we had never seen, a full sacrament meeting, playing for the stake women's choir, and the zone baptizing eight. We were so tired we fell asleep with the light on : ) The real treat was a quick meeting that we had at the Bishop's house where we watched three quick videos on hastening the work with him. The spirit BURNED, in that room, and his vision was enlarged and our hearts were softened towards what sometimes becomes the eternal fight for member support. We are now as one moving towards Zion here.

This week we will listen to Elder Csta and though it will be quick I'm excited as I expect many changes will happen. Elder Arnaud continues to be excellent. No Thanksgiving here. . .I did get Aunt Janel´s package and I might have eaten all of it because it was irresistible : )

I love you, I love this gospel, and my Savior, Jesus Christ, for whom and by whose side I strive to bring the world His truth,



Sunday, November 24, 2013

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

How was your week? I'll be sending your SSN# and BYUid in a separate email. Let us know what else we can do to help. Hopefully you have some pictures of you and your new companion? I expect you'll tell us all about your wonderful training with Elder Costa?

The missionaries are still teaching Hunter's friend and his father. He wrote the sweetest note to the missionaries that he asked Hunter to pass along. "Thank you for sharing your faith and listening to mine as we all seek to better conform ourselves to our Lord...and if you haven't already been invited, please come over for Thanksgiving." And the best part? He signed the card, "Bro. Shiner."

This is the first year I've had seniors who have asked me to fill out the seminary teacher recommendation for their college application. Wish I could have done yours! "Hunter is a seminary teacher's dream student. He reads the lesson the night before and comes prepared to share and discuss. He tries to involve other less active students. He's extremely kind and considerate to the students and teacher. He loves the gospel, and sets the highest example to those around him. He studiously prepares to go on a mission, and truly LIVES the gospel in his day to day activities and in the choices he makes. Hunter understands gospel commitment, sacrifice, and integrity." Speaking of seniors, here is your beautiful cousin Kayla's senior picture: 

I heard from your former companion's mother, Sis. Carrell. She said, "You know what my Sunday night activity usually has been and it seems weird not to be writing that email! I wanted to let you know that Josh loved your son and was so happy to have him as a companion! He said he is an excellent missionary. I'm so glad they were able to serve together. It is wonderful having him home. He is so kind, loving and spiritual. The transition to home is hard, he really misses being in a Brazil and being a missionary. Each day has gotten a bit easier for him. He has yet to watch tv or listen to non religious music although he did get on FB a few minutes today and yesterday, but mostly it was to delete unsuitable people and to make connections with former missionaries and friends in a Brazil." (When I posted your pictures from last week, Elder Carrell helped his mother in identifying all the elders for me ;-)

We wrote a little note to Elder Carneiro, as we had his email address after he sent us a picture of you, and shared the one or two lines you wrote about him. He wrote back and said, "I so glad for working with Elder Schenewark, he is a good missionary and so smart also. I don't no writing in English language, but I just want be thank for him and for you. I hope see E.Schenewark again in the mission. Sorry through English, I'll learning more." 

And of course we've heard a lot from Breyer.;-) Your little sister continues to be such a joy in our lives. She keeps me running every day all day long. I don't know what I was expecting after six boys, but I don't think it was this. This week's adventures? She found more paint and was trying to paint Ranger's toenails pink. I get this. But then she painted his fur. He looks like a zebra as she put some silver stripes on his back. Then she ran and dripped paint all over the house while we were chasing her. Blue and silver. Most of it came out with the vacuum carpet cleaner. Make-up adventures? Sure! This week she found the clear nail polish and painted her stomach. So it would be sparkly. I stand corrected. Dad just came and told me she used lipstick on my toilet cover. Poor Ranger. His water bowl took another hit this week, this time with salt and pepper. I noticed them awry on the table, and would never have noticed if not for the many pepper flakes floating. And last, my favorite conversation of the week. After spending a little bit of time in her car seat, taking Cooper to physical therapy and back, she was done. "Mom, I need to scream." Breyer, we don't do that! "But I need to." Princesses don't scream. "I am not a princess."

Porter, Dad and Cooper traveled to Kansas City, MO Friday-Saturday for Porter's second stage Jeopardy try-out for teen Jeopardy. He spent many hours working with Sis. Parrish throughout this month, and while driving on the way, reading trivia cards. What an adventure! In the telling of their adventures, Porter found that the Willy Wonka contestants analogy worked best. Charlie was happy to be there, and his family was excited. Everyone else was cut-throat, and it was "all about the prize." Let's just say that in Kansas City there were a LOT of personalities. Some had parents who had been on Jeopardy, one on "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?", others who had siblings who had been on Jeopardy, and even more who had already been to this stage before. There were two brothers that Porter enjoyed. All but five were from private schools. Some families had flown out for the interview, at their own expense, and had arrived Monday! And the intimidation faces were on! Your Dad said that there were 30,000 individuals who tried the computer try-out. Out of those 30K, 260 teens were chosen to be retested, in four locations across the United States. There were only forty something in Kansas City, most in New York and L.A. Atlanta was the other host city. While Porter was competing, Dad had a few speeches given to him, mostly filled with stories of contestants whose on-line tests had been completed by parents, and when asked, the kids turned their parents in. Hence, the need for second stage testing, a fifty question paper-pen test on site. Porter knew of at least three he got wrong in that stage. In the Jeopardy buzz-in portion of the interview, they were standing up, holding a buzzer, and being filmed. They only had three questions in each category, 200, 400 and 600. He cleaned out the Africa category. One question he remembers was, What is the capital of Swaziland? Dad They will finish regional testing in January, and be contacted in February if they want him. Only fifteen will go on.

The rest of the week pales in comparison. Sawyer and Miller had basketball practices during the week, and games Saturday morning. Eight o'clock sharp Sawyer was running up and down the court, and I was wishing I had grabbed breakfast on the way out. Who makes those early morning Saturday schedules? That's my sleep-in day! And I don't mean sleep in, I mean to lay around for a little while since it's a no school or seminary day! Sawyer played well. He has a good coach, a few big boys, and they'll probably dominate his league, winning today 45-11. Miller's league changed the format for the younger boys, and Miller plays half court games, three-on-three. I'm not sure how I like it, but it definitely gets everybody playing all the time. Which is the point at this age. He's funny to watch. He's not a smooth operator yet. He chucks the ball up to the net, kind of like a baseball throw. But he dribbles well, and runs circles around the boys. He's much more comfortable on the floor, though as he knows so many more boys since he's started school.

Cooper had his last quiz bowl meet. His team finished 7-0, and he gives all the credit to his weekly cape. They're going on to the OVC tournament next month. Hunter and Porter had their first home meet this week. They won handily, and played together.

These are pictures of your grandparents. Due to a retirement, there were four Boston temple mission presidents together at one time. Next to your grandfather is Bob Woods, then Bruce Sorensen, then the current President Bowen. Don't they look great?

In the outside world, this week was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is also the 50th anniversary of the death of President J.F. Kennedy, and the author C.S. Lewis.

There's a touching story I read this weekend about a Romanian pastor whom the Communists "tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell. He could not sleep as if he rested the rats would attack him. He was forced to stand for two weeks night and day. The Communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren in the underground church but he resisted steadfastly. Finally they brought his fourteen year old son and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying they would continue to beat him until the father said what they wished him to say. When he could stand it no longer, he cried to his son, "Alexander, I must say what they want! I can't bear your beating any more!" The son answered, "Father, don't do me the injustice to have a traitor as a parent. Withstand!" Heavenly Father asks us to do hard things! And sometimes we're not very old. You're not old yet, and are doing things that are hard, and away from your home and family. Withstand! Continue the faith. You've made us so proud.

We love you!

Mom and Dad

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quiz Bowl Quiz

Name the country where these authors were born: James Kelman, Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson

Name the country of these cities: Balad, Doolow, Goldogob, and Mogadishu

Name the state with these senators: Mary Landrieu, David Vitter

Nice win! Fairland 47, Coal Grove 17


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mom's Mascera

Many people spoke of girl drama.
Boys are busy, girls are emotion.
Not one person mentioned the mess!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scout Message Boards

Our favorite carpenter was back in town...

...with twenty message board kits!

(And our favorite den chief was there to help!)

Good job, boys!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Letter #69

Dear Family, 

What a week! It seems like a year went by in seven days but then again we put some serious miles on the travel log. 

My new companion is Elder Arnaud, my former zone leader. He's great and from Natal, Brazil. He speaks with a slight French accent and likes to play piano more than I do. He also was a professional volleyball player here before the mission. 

The beginning of the week was spent in sending everyone off in grand style to their respective new areas or receiving those that were arriving. As zone leader you get a print out of what is going on in your area and have to arrange for everyone to get picked up or sent off, and also make sure no one is left alone. It was a very fun diversion planning transfer logistics! : ) 

Then we headed down to Londrina for the counsel meeting with the president. We had a beautiful night sunset bus ride going southwest to Londrina. It was great to see the area where I had served and loved only six weeks earlier too. We arrived in the bus station and said hi to lots of people before I was whisked off to sleep in Riveira with Elder Bailey. 

We bought an awe inspiring pizza but sadly most of mine got left in the fridge as we didn't have time to eat it. More buses and we got to the meeting which is held in the institute building above one of the chapels. It is a very beautiful building with lots of paintings I had never seen in church buildings before. The counsel mostly focused on the new group of zone leaders that were coming in and what they would have to do. We were well fed, something that is happening frequently here : )

We got back Wednesday and went to work in some blinding heat, which was lessened by some free milkshakes form the bishop. But we found lots of people and really put our shoes on the pavement which felt wonderful. Sunday morning as you know I went to assist in baptismal interviews. When Sister Halpin called me I was waking up from a nap on the bus and a little groggy. I remember saying that I was living the life but I admit English was not coming naturally to me so I may have seemed a bit distant. It was great to talk to them though and it really almost felt like talking to my own mom : )

Our investigator Elder Carrell and I were teaching Vitoria was baptized here and I baptized in Assis. 

One of these days I awoke to the sound of my blood being sucked by a nasty tick. Pretty sure I got it all out with the old credit card trick but I think this was the worst tick attack I've ever experienced. They're after my precious O - blood!

Next week we'll have a very special conference with Elder Costa the president of the Brasil area so everyone is getting super excited for that. Oh, I also received two splendiforous packages at the counsel. Thank you for your love. I feel it every breakfast and also late brunches. I will try extra hard to write lots of letters today. I have a stack that has not been sent to the post office yet as well. My mail train is surely appearing more burrowish than modern but I do love you . I am having the time of my life and I love the gospel with all my heart. The Lord gave us the gospel to save His family and I am so glad to spread abroad this rescuing message of joy. 

I LOVE YOU All, be sure to help the missionaries! I know you do : ) That brings me comfort on the hottest of days!



Sunday, November 17, 2013

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

Happy Birthday week! Did you realize you had the best birthday date ever? 11-12-13 How cool is that? It should have been a banner birthday day, and I can hardly wait to hear all about it. Hopefully you had a birthday box arrive? Dad specifically would like to know exactly what you did for your birthday!

Let's start with news about missionaries. Today we received a wonderful note from Elder Halpin's mother. She said, "So I don't know if you know that I am in Brazil right now picking up our missionary. We arrived on Wednesday, and have been traveling around to the cities he has served in. We attended church in Marilia today and went to visit elder Schenewark. I was so excited to take a picture and send it to you...we waited for he and his companion to arrive, and found out they had traveled to assist for an interview. I was so sad not to meet him. I did however get to speak with him on the phone and asked if he would like me to give you a message...he said to tell you that he is "alive and well." I did leave a jar of peanut butter for him with the missionaries that live in his apartment. So sad that I was so close, and we didn't get to meet. What an eye opener it has been to see the actual mission. These missionaries are amazing!" Anything else besides being alive and well? '-)

I think I remember that you had about nineteen new elders arriving this past week, two of whom had mothers emailing on the missionary mom website - Elders Zendejas and Rogers. Did you meet them? We expect we'll be hearing about your leader training this week, as well as your new companion. We watched the homecoming arrivals of Bennett, Carrell, Chambers and Petersen on line. Not gonna lie. Made me more than a little teary! How wonderful that you got to serve with all of these fine young men, and others, that all went home last week.

I read that in the Campinas Brazil mission they're receiving so many referrals from the media, they've had to bring elders into the office to assist. Have you heard about media referrals for your mission?

Your crazy cousin Naomi had a great idea. She said that she would call the members "right before we were going out contacting and asked them to pray for us to find someone to give out the books to. I will testify to you that this works. Each time, we quickly found people who were ready to receive them and it really built the faith of the members in us as missionaries." Try it!

Your other cousin, Greg, had a great experience while tracting. "We knock on a door and a lady answers it, before we can say anything she says, "Come on in" like it's normal. She and her husband tell us that a friend who is a member of the church had just called and was on the way over with the missionaries and they had thought it was us. Fifteen minutes later (after the family decided to be baptized) a member came to the door with our zone leaders. Apparently there are two streets in that area that aren't in our sector, and don't even connect to the zone leaders sector and we found them...But because we showed up, it was a sign to them that this was the path that God wants them to follow. I know that God blesses us when we work hard and diligently."

There have been a couple of interesting stories regarding the church in the news this week. The missionaries serving in the 25 missions in the Philippines have all been accounted for and the one mission in the heart of the typhoon, has 205 amazing stories that have been forthcoming. Ten sisters especially, who were on the second floor of their house in water up to their knees, and metal bars on their windows, who kicked out a wall to get out of their house. Most of them did not know how to swim, but they had been told to have rope, which helped them go through the sea water to the top of another roof. Other missionaries pooled $1000 to commandeer a boat to drive themselves to the mission home, others walked hours. After two days the mission home had no food or water to support the 205 missionaries, so the president had them walk to the airport, led in the front and the back by the assistants. Once there, their sheer numbers were making it difficult to fly out, but an American pilot of a C-130, sent by our government to fly out Americans, recognized their nametags, as he too was Mormon, and took them all to the Manila MTC. He said later he had been led to go to the other end of the airport, not knowing why, and was instrumental in getting the missionaries out of dangerous circumstances due to decaying bodies, prison escapees who were able to swim out of the prison, gunfire due to lawless conditions.

I read about missionaries who, having a large fountain in their town square, drew the story of the tree of life around the fountain using chalk. What a great idea! And you're such a talented artist! Go for it! That's my out-of-the-box suggestion this week.

From (Reuters) - The Mormon church is poised to become the largest private landowner in Florida as a result of a deal to buy nearly 400,000 acres in the state's Panhandle region. The property is mostly timberland, and the church "intends to maintain timber and agricultural uses of the lands." The signed sales agreement with the church's company, AgReserves Inc., for $565 million is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals. The company expects the deal to be finalized in the first quarter of 2014. The Mormon church was already one of Florida's largest landowners. For more than 60 years, the church has owned Deseret Ranches, a 290,000 cattle and citrus operation straddling three counties in Central Florida, approximately 50 miles southeast of downtown Orlando.

In April 2013 there were four members of the original Doolittle raid; that was their last public appearance. Last week they met in Dayton where they finally opened the bottle of brandy, as there are only three left. We thought you would enjoy knowing this bit of news, since it's one of your father's favorite stories, and you have seen the wooden case holding the engraved 80 goblets.

The boys and your father read about the Great Molasses flood of Boston in 1919. It's a very interesting story, and one which none of us had ever heard before! While waiting to see if prohibition would pass, molasses used in rum was fermenting in an enormous cast-iron tank. Because of the fermentation, and resulting expansion of rum in the iron tank, the rivets shot out, and later chunks of cast iron were flying through the air, and the streets were like a black tidal wave, instantly bogged with molasses. Some people were swept off their feet, sucked under and drowned. Molasses flowed into basements and knocked entire buildings off their foundations. Twenty one people were killed by the molasses flood, 150 injured. Horses could not be dragged out of the bog and were shot. Streets were tacky for months, for months later when it rained the runoff would turn the harbor brown. And for years, hot summer months in Boston still smelled of molasses.

Two times this week Porter went to the home of Sis. Parrish and practiced trivia questions with her for a couple of hours. The hour of Jeopardy is drawing near, and we're floundering as how to best prepare. Nevertheless, it will be a grand adventure, beginning this Friday, as your father and Porter, perhaps Cooper, head to Kansas City to compete against the best of the best.

Your three little brothers have begun their basketball practices. Since Cooper didn't make the middle school team, I signed him up for rec ball. He's still in physical therapy for his pinky, but buddy tapes it when he practices. Pictures of them will be coming! They are fun to watch!

Breyer has occupied a lot of my time this week. She found my pouch of leftover lipstick tubes, and used the bathroom rug as a palette. Isn't it so pretty? 

She also found my seminary stash and used the whiteboard erasers all over the wall. 

What else? Took a bit of some footprints made out of plaster of paris. Not too tasty! When I cut her hair she, in her indignant voice said, "Put it back on right now!" She likes to listen to the cassette tape stories of Cinderella and Snow White upstairs in the bedroom. She'll walk around trying to name all seven dwarfs, and will always call Grumpy Grampy. Usually your uncles are calling Grampy Grumpy! She also learned how to finally open the fridge door, and this week took out the bottle of vidalia onion salad dressing, and filled Ranger's water bowl with salad dressing! Another day she dumped my container of vinegar into his water bowl. I would never have known except I found the empty container! She's not naughty, just busy!

Because of her shenanigans I paid to have the rugs cleaned this week. All the lipstick came out (hallelujah!) as well as brother and dog dirt. The rugs look great! It snowed for the first time this was beautiful for a short morning! Breyer decided on her own to eat snow. "Mom, this is good!"

Today is the third year since Uncle David's death. Aunt Shirley posted this wonderful picture and I thought I would share him with you today. 

This week the church activity was for husbands and wives to compete against each other in bowling. We ladies gave it a good try but got skunked. And, I bowled a 155! Four strikes in a row! I don't think I've ever even broken 100, never mind halfway to 200! Dad's high was 126 that night. It was very fun, and I hope to do it again on a smaller scale with others as a fellowshipping activity.

Sawyer leaned over to me during church today, and wiggled his eyebrows. A lot. Then he says, "Mom, I can almost do the wave." Too funny! Not a good thing while in church, but smile material nonetheless.

In seminary we read about King Benjamin. What a great man. I had forgotten that he had gathered together his armies, "And he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm...and in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies." And, "by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul...did once more establish peace in the land." King Benjamin taught his people that if they would search the scriptures diligently, they would prosper in the land. They needed to be diligent in reading the scriptures that they would remember the commandments of the Lord. He doesn't expect us to remember everything perfectly but instead asks us to continually search the scriptures that we would be reminded of those things we need to do. "For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates." What a great time in your life to be given this time to study. And the entitled blessing of "prospering" especially applies to you as a missionary. Look for commandments while you're reading, that you need to be more aware of, and you will prosper more.

Today there have been more than seventy tornadoes in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. Due to us being under tornado watch/warning, I will be sending this letter out much earlier in case we lose power through the night. Would not want to leave your inbox empty! Have a wonderful week! We love you dearly.

Mom and Dad