Monday, June 30, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

I think I'm ready to officially begin your official count down. Time is drawing close! Breyer keeps asking why we can't go to the new house, and I have to keep reminding her that we have to wait for you to come home. She does understand not wanting to be left behind. It's happened to her a few times this week, as well as when I went to girls camp. You will be relieved to know I finished your thank you letter for you ;-) Piece of cake!

The beginning of the week began with a tornado of activity related to buying the house, working with the realtor, talking to the mortgage lender, arranging to rent in between, finding out about utilities and insurance, opening and canceling name it the phone handled it. I felt like it was glued to my head. Escaping to baseball practice at the end of the day was such a relief. No phone! By the end of the week the activity level had dropped considerably. There were a few issues with the roof, that the seller needs to handle, but by tomorrow the 30-45 waiting period to close on the house officially begins. The realtor has been great to work with. Aunt Shirley is also going through the process, and didn't even have to put her house on the market - will be moving shortly to Walpole!

The boys went to Imogene's house again for their weekly Scrabble game. Hunter pulled out the wins this week, with a FEW Scrabbles to boot. She's itching to add you to the fray. 

Summer days bring out the creative beasts in your brother. Cooper has been doing his computerized Lego robotics. 

He also makes a mean nutella strawberry banana sandwich.

Hunter being artistic with his hairy arm ;-)

Cooper erasing Sawyer's freckles off his face!

Porter going neon in his cross country clothes.

Breyer has been potty training all week. She began on Monday, and has not looked back. Even started waking up dry in the morning as well. She's had a few accidents, but gets a diaper on when Dad's in charge. We've had some problems getting shorts on her, as she doesn't want to cover up her Wonder Woman pants (underwear). Too funny. Sometimes she runs around with Miller, and they "train" together. Look what you have to look forward to!

Yesterday, Elder Bednar joined 6 other living apostles with "great pitch"--and threw the inaugural pitch across the mound at Dodger Stadium. An estimated 4,000 Church members were in attendance at last night's Dodger's game. The event, known as "Mormon Night," is the longest-running community event held by the Dodgers, and has gone on for more than 25 years. Bednar joins six other living apostles who have had this same honor. Last year, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland threw the opening pitch.

Yesterday was also Miller's third all star baseball game. He had a win on Tuesday, and a loss on Thursday, which made yesterday's game a make-it or break-it game. They made it. Miller actually changed the 0-2 disadvantage in the third inning by hitting a homerun. Line drive shot right down the right field line. He slid into third, but the throw was delayed, so he got up, ran, collided with the third baseman standing in the base path, got up again, and ran across home with the catcher then getting the ball. He tied the game with his one RBI, and broke open the floodgates for the 10-6 win. That win required them to play the next game, which they also handily won 16-4. Playing a second game in 90 degree weather definitely began to take its toll by the end of the second game, and when Miller fell asleep on the way home I was not surprised. They resume play tomorrow.

(Front row, far right)

Sawyer began his tournament with a home field advantage, but I was not there to watch. On the way home from Rock Hill, and after cell reception was restored we found out the game was tied 4-4 and going into extra innings. We drove straight to his field and found out they had won 6-4. Sawyer's playing center field for Mr. Sowards. He also plays tomorrow night.

Last night Breyer asked Dad to go outside with her and catch fire flies. It's one of his favorite features of West Virginia summers. Growing up in California, and going to school in Utah, he had never seen one until he was on his mission in the pan handle of Florida. He shared in church today that he had fallen asleep, and woke up, with no contacts or glasses on, and saw a bright light above his head. He thought for sure he was having some kind of heavenly manifestation. When he finally was able to put on his glasses, he discovered a small fire fly above his face. Perspective ;-)

Porter is on the tri stake youth committee, and had a little retreat Friday night-Saturday morning in Ashland. He is looking forward to working with you on this event. (**Definitely share your "I dreamed about you," glowing in the hallway, and "we're angels" stories, even though you're talking about preparing for a mission ;-) This is his hat he has to decorate as part of the youth leadership committee.

Porter has also begun his driving portion of drivers education. He is very hesitant about driving with others, perhaps that's something you could do just with him ;-) One Sunday he came home and changed his clothes, into his "driving" clothes, and took Dad out for a spin.

Hunter? Just busy. He comes to me every Sunday evening to let me know his schedule. We have to make sure we have no van conflicts ;-) He helps me with all the driving needs (appointments, library books, store) and I give him have the car. It's a win-win situation. Few lawn appointments, a couple of golf course mornings, having lunch with the's a good life.

Speaking engagements? They're piling up ;-) We'd like you to think about doing a fireside your last Sunday here. You have one when you get home, and then one after the youth conference workshops. Then we're gone. We're thinking of having a pot luck after church, and then you. A chance to talk about your mission, Brazil, customs, people, experiences...we'd like to invite neighbors, friends, classmates, Optimists...kind of like a glorified going away party. Are you up for it? You'll just need to work on your slide show when you come home, but work on the presentation now. Kind of a long version of youth conference ;-) You're great!

Well, I think that's it. We love you! Looking forward to hearing about your crazy week, World Cup action, and such. Stay safe.

Mom and Dad

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crashing the Mulching Party

It's a tough life, but somebody's got to live it ;-)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Letter #100

Dearest Family,

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't forget : ) although sometimes I'm uncertain if your anniversary is the 11th or the 12th . . .I knew it was the 12th though, which is cool because that's Valentine's day here in Brasil : )

As I sit down to write now, in a moment of peace, I realize that there will only be 2 maybe 3 more of these letters to write and send. That doesn't make me sad, but rather I'm thinking of just continuing the tradition and with 'uncley' swag, adding my weekly letter to the list that goes out. Or not, but I think I'll keep writing : )

We're not even near to being out of the craziness yet. Brasil just won against Cameroons, and being that we're still in the office in the crossroads of the big city here, there's a party going on outside our window.

And that's not all. Last week when I wrote you it was the night before Brasil's big game. Tuesday we held meetings in the morning and spent the afternoon in the house during the game. Tuesday night we went to our convert's farewell at the chapel. It was an emotional time. She said it best, through tears, me in tears as well: "Elder Schenewark, your mission was worth everything if just to find me, it was worth it. Don't ever forget that." : ) We went our ways. She entered into the training center Wednesday afternoon and early next week will be entering into the mission field in Porto Alegre south mission.

Wednesday, we left early, ate lunch in the bus station and headed on our way to Tupã where we arrived about 6 o'clock and got right to work with the zone leaders there. They were tired and a little bit worn. Tupã does that to you : ) but we were able to give a needed spark and this weekend the number of people they had in church doubled. This week I'm sure they'll have lots of baptisms!  I didn't have time to visit anybody but I heard from the church leaders that my converts are doing well. (We also hit up some sfihas, which are like little Arabian pizzas.) We worked all day Thursday in Tupã. Cool story. We're all about creative contacts here. Late Thursday night working to find people who would go to church, after a full day of empty results we were stopped by a young boy who asked who we were. I answered that we were angels. He asked what we did! I answered that we were searching for those that were ready to go to heaven. Well, that caught his interest and he (about five years old) called us to come talk to his family, ran into his house, and about thirty seconds later reappeared with his mom. She promptly asked if we were servants of the Lord, and if we prayed for people. We responded in the affirmative! We went in as she explained that her father was sick and she was searching for a church. We left a blessing, an invite to church and Sunday they went.

Friday early early early in the morning we got another bus to Bauru, four hours and we were there. Bauru was already catching fire, with interviews marked for Friday morning when we got there. We lunched (it was GOOD) and then I hit the famous streets of the neighborhood Pousada with Elder G. Souza, our great big Portuguese elder. He's fantastic. We didn't have any luck that afternoon finding people at home but I did get to know Rafael the pastor, a member in the bairro who helps the elders a lot and is known for his fiery invites. He usually says to passerbyes: "Irmã, do you have an umbrella made of iron?!?!?! Well, bring it Sunday because fire is going to fall from heaven!" He's great as well. Plus he's got an unlimited bus pass that we made good use of the whole weekend. Friday we already set off to help in the area of Independência, working there for a couple of hours to firm up baptisms there. Going into rush mode now.

Saturday I hopped to Geisel where I interviewed one woman before holding a mission wide phone conference with the president (I was running and on the bus the whole time ) on my way to Indep. again for two more interviews there. The conference was exceptional and the President promised to us all (reading from Mosiah 24:13-14) that we would be blessed with an extraordinary number of people in church this weekend if we worked with diligence for the next eight hours remaining in the day, and we were smashing the mission's all time record with 336 investigators in church Sunday.  Thursday we smashed another record, the pizza record, eating five.

After interviews in Indep. we returned to . . .Geisel where one interview fell through. I was able to firm up two more baptisms and we held the baptisms that night even having cake for those in attendance due to the loving dedication of a sister in the ward. We even had a special musical number from the young women. The bishop gave us a ride home and we celebrated eating açai!!!

Sunday we were back in . . .Geisel with Elders Firmino and Barbre, where I was able to firm up. . two more and we baptized them, a family, after the meetings. After lunch we caught a six hour bus to Londrina getting here at 9:15. WHEW!

Well that's a lot of baptism. Bauru baptized fifteen, coming close to the record of the week and breaking by one my old record of 34 baptisms in the month by one zone. More forthcoming as there is still one more week and tomorrow after the new missionaries arrive we leave for Marilia and then Bauru again. A new assistant to the president was called today, Elder Jouinsse of frequent mention, the ONLY other missionary that's been trained in Tupa since me. The last and only last three elders trained in Tupa all became assistants! I'll be training him for his new duties these next two weeks : )

Have to go, we have to pick him up and run home, LOVE YOU!


Monday, June 23, 2014

With All Our Love!

Dear Tanner,

I tried to log into your LDSmail account to see if you were able to view last week's letter after your preparation day, but couldn't. I don't think I'm using the write user name, or you changed your password. Were you able? (Now I'm afraid not to write on Sunday!)

I also checked your BYU account and saw that you were awarded a BYU scholarship? Congratulations! Not sure if it's semester by semester, but we'll take it!

Clint asked Hunter if he wanted to do a Tough Mudder run in the fall in Utah. Hunter wanted to know if you are in ;-) Hunter also was invited to play in his golf scramble. Speaking of Hunter, he had been asked to teach the Elder's quorum today in church, on family history. He and I had spoken about some of our family stories. When he was told it would be a combined high priest, elders quorum, relief society meeting, he was a little nervous, and asked me to share the stories. He did a fabulous job! He was very encouraging of others to share ;-) and they loved him because of this.

Dad left Thursday morning on a house hunting trip in Texas, with his trusty sidekicks Porter and Cooper. He rented a car so he didn't have to worry about any car problems, and got to work early Friday morning. We've already sent you a few pictures of the house...Dad will have a few more when he returns, which will be fun to see. We feel very blessed we could find one (hopefully) within our budget without too much difficulty. He went with a list of five, and picked one we knew about but wasn't on our list. What you think you see on the computer and what you actually see are VERY different! Never buy unseen! And the one we bought is SO much nicer in all ways than what we thought. They are still there. They have enjoyed their time there, Today is your father's birthday, and the first spent in Texas this year ;-) Evan graduated from paratrooper school this week, and after your aunt visited him, was able to bring him home so there was a full house! While attending the church in Tyler, he saw on their board that there was a missionary serving in your mission since March, an Elder Colton Price...probably arrived in Londrina this month? Anyway, your father wanted you to know!

Your brother Porter got his braces off. He commented that you had never seen him in braces! I have yet to get a picture, but I will! Cooper loved your birthday message. He's been celebrating turning 14 here and there...asked for a machete for his birthday present. $8 at Walmart with an adult i.d. He loves that thing. He's cut up the father's day cake, a watermelon, and ice cream, weeds, bushes and the field. He's a man on a machete mission.

 Mrs. Shiner is back for the summer, decided not to retire in VA. I ran into her on a bike ride, and offered Hunter and the van to help her get her belongings back to OH. He'll be making the trip on Tuesday. She called me tonight and invited me to come over tomorrow and make gooseberry jam, after she invited the sister missionaries.

Most of the week we spent sorting and packing, doing small jobs and regular household stuff. Your siblings keep me busy! Sawyer and Miller had practice for their teams most of the week. I usually go down in the evening and sit to watch. It's a fun time I set aside for myself to enjoy the beautiful evenings, your brothers playing baseball, sometimes Breyer, sometimes a book. This week Sawyer was rotating through short stop, and had a hard hit in his direction. He ran, leaped, twisted, and caught the ball, which pulled him to the ground. It was spectacular. I gave a good honk from the parking lot, and the coach made everyone go over and give him a high five. Miller's all star tournament week started Saturday and goes through next week. They won their first game. He loves baseball!

We were reading the story of David and Goliath this week. When everyone wondered why he was on the battlefield, and their anger kindled against him, he said, "Is there not a cause?" You have a great cause, and are using those "five smooth stones" in your bag to fight the good fight, and do so "in the name of the Lord." We love you, and are so thankful you're slingin' the stones.

Mom and Dad