Dear Elder Schenewark,
I gave Dad The Cokeville Miracle for Christmas, and we watched it over Christmas break for the first time, and again today. It's a true story that took place in 1986, in Cokeville, Wyoming, and one that I remember well being only a bit of a state away at the time. The former town marshal, fired after six months for misconduct, returned seven years later and took 136 children and 18 adults hostage at Cokeville Elementary School.
David Young entered the school with his wife, Doris, transporting a large gasoline-filled device that appeared to be a bomb. The couple corralled a large group of students and teachers into a single classroom. Young attached the bomb trigger to his wrist and threatened the group that he might, at any time, move his arm and ignite the bomb. After a two-and-a-half hour standoff, the children were becoming restless, so the teachers led them in prayer. The praying appeared to make David agitated and he decided to leave the room. Before leaving the room, David attached the bomb's detonation device to his wife's wrist.
When the children became increasingly loud, Doris began begging the teachers to settle the group down. At one point she lifted her arm sharply and the bomb went off prematurely, injuring Doris while David was out of the room. Returning to the scene, David shot his wife, then himself. All the hostages escaped, though 79 were later hospitalized with burns and injuries. 76 of the hostages suffered injuries, mostly flesh burns and other injuries from the exploding bomb.
Several children reported seeing angels in the classroom that day, including many children who claimed to have seen a "beautiful lady" or person all in white who told them to go near the window. Other children reported seeing an angel over each child's head. All of the children who saw angels were shown several photos to identify the beings. Every child responded to the photos of an ancestor saying, "That's her/him!"
Investigators discovered that only two of the bomb's five blasting caps went off, along with the gasoline leaking preventing a larger explosion. And if it had worked properly, the bomb would have blown off the side of the building and many more would have been injured or killed.
Isn't it wonderful to know, and as the movie thoroughly proclaims, that the power of prayer is miraculous. All the children prayed, and they were all delivered. Not all hostage situations are as miraculous, just as not every leper or blind man was healed when Christ was on the earth. But when He performs miracles, we should always recognize the hand of God. Miracles are real, as you pointed out last week, having ancestors on the other side of the veil eager to help us, and show their love, is also real.
Although more of a love poem by Henry Kemp, this stanza reminds me of our family that has gone before us, and paved the way in love:
The countless generations
Like autumn leaves go by:
Love only is eternal,
Love only does not die
I truly hope you had a wonderful week! The weather here has imitated Brazil: 70-80's every day, and continuing into this week. Balmy breezes, sunshine, and starry, starry nights. I love the weather here! Most likely the winter will continue to be mild because of the El Nino effect, but I'm sure I'll be complaining with the extra hot summer yet to come.
? I think I fixed the blog problem, but forgot to check with you. Did you get last week's letter? I forgot to copy it into an email format for you. Are you getting blog posts?
? And how in the heck did your golf glove accidentally get in your suitcase? However that happened, it was a tender mercy you got to play golf. Paraphrasing Elder Bednar, a tender mercy is from a loving Savior, sending you a most personal and timely message. Whether the message is of comfort, reassurance, love, compassion...I'm happy you got to play golf.
Cooper had his first tennis meet this week. He played men's doubles, won the first match 8-3, and lost the second round in a tie breaker to the eventual first place winners. And he got to play during school! Breyer and I got all her purses and lunch boxes packed; her clothes, after changing three times, just right, and arrived when he walked off the courts. Better luck to us next time. Watching Cooper play tennis has been elusive.
Breyer, while driving in the car, asked me, "Mom, have you ever seen a "bo-nuski?"
"You know, the snow dog."
"You mean a husky?"
She cracks me up. I will forever think of those dogs as bonuskis.
Your father had me laughing at the latest news headline: Charges were being filed against those that put a scratch on King Tut's mask. After 3300 years and countless miles of travel all over the world, without such a mark, it happened. It was then discovered his beard had been knocked off and glued with super glue. Such are the items worthy of the news.
He also found an interesting article that listed the top 50 most violent cities in the world, and Brazil is listed 21 times! And, Vitoria is 31st! Are you surprised? I am. Uncle Zach's mission, Joao Pessoa, is 15th; Vitoria da Conquesta is 36th (3 hours away from you). Maryland,the first from the United States, pops in at 19th, Detroit 28th and New Orleans 32nd. Dad;s mission, Johannesburg, South Africa, finishes my list at 47th. Be careful!!
Stephen Welch announced he was entering the Mexico MTC on March 9th, to serve in his original mission in Mexico. If we can, we'll try to go to his farewell in Oklahoma City.
While driving, again, Breyer posed this question to Miller and myself. "Why do princesses need so much beauty sleep?" And Miller's answer? "If they don't get enough sleep they're grumpy and when they're grumpy their face looks mean." That'll do.
Your cousin appears to be very happy. We're all looking forward to the trip down to Houston in April. Grampy's going, and working on the paperwork to perform the ceremony. There might be a few who travel back to the Dallas area to visit with us for a while.
I will be checking on your glasses this week. I forgot to write it down, so I forgot. When Dad visits the bank for February's payment, he'll check into getting you a bank card.
Saturday was a very busy day. Sawyer and I put up the pinewood derby track at our church, went to his basketball game, and then back to the church to finish setting up. Almost 100? cub scouts, parents and guests filled the gym, with 27 entries. Fun day. Miller walked away with the win over the Bear den, and overall winner. That's a first for us. But compared to you and Tanner, he's benefited from all of Dad's expertise he's accumulated over those 50 or so cars collecting dust in the boys' bedroom. He did another Car car. He has two more years, and plans to finish out his collection. Cooper,Porter, Sawyer and Dad all helped run the derby...judging the finish line, watching over cars, figuring out brackets. The missionaries registered, weighed and judged. Such big help, notwithstanding the almost 100 visitors in the church building. We ended the evening with another basketball game for Sawyer.
Friday evening Dad took Cooper on a scout camp out, pretty close to town, and came back Saturday morning just in time to see the end of Sawyer's game and put the wheels on Miller's car.
Friday evening Porter, in his 2.5 minutes of play time, went in with a 37-17 loss, and helped them return to 39-29, without scoring a basket.
Friday evening Sawyer played basketball, had a great game rebounding, passing, being a leader on the floor.
In between all of the weekly evening activities, Dad and your brothers will hop in the car and drive to the pond for a little fishing time. It's nice to see your father finally have a hobby! And the weather was perfect for them to do this.
I think that's the update for the week. Know of our love for you, that we expect you to keep yourself safe, and know that we "fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." 2nd Kings 6:16.