Monday, February 29, 2016

Letter #28

Dear Family and Friends,

Again, I have seen the Lord´s hand in our lives. But to start from the beginning.

Last Monday, we went and visited the beach. As a rule, we can´t touch the sand, so I can´t really tell you much about the beach, if it's really all it's hyped up to be or not, but I can say it was beautiful. We stayed there for a while, taking pictures, reflecting, etc. Towards the end, a guy came up to us and asked if he could do a sketch of us. So we pooled 15 reias together and posed. Cool remembrance.

My love of açai continues. Originally we just bought a bowl of açai, at a set price but this week we decided to go with the self serve pay by the kilo. We tend to buy a little bit almost every day. It's so refreshing in the afternoon sun (and healthy). I also ate my first Brazilian hot dog, which was different, and delicious.

We received a referral from a bishop of another ward for an elderly lady, 86 years old, (not unusual in the States, but here, almost unheard of) so we try calling her, but she doesn't answer her phone; the only other information we have is the address of her store (she still works!!!! as a seamstress). We finally found her getting a manicure and pedicure at a store close by, and we learned about the referral.

She was Catholic for much of her life, but became convinced that baptism needs to be by immersion, so she currently affiliates with Assembly of God church, but has wondered about all the Catholic family members she´s outlived, and the Bishop said he´d send the missionaries over to talk about vicarious baptism. So we taught the restoration and vicarious baptisms. She loved the message, and the Book of Mormon, but her 88 year old sister was having a birthday out of town, so she couldn't come to church this week. Hopefully more news to come.

Willian, 17 years old who visited last week, and has 5 siblings, was interviewed, and asked that I baptize him. So, this Sunday, after many miracles, we both descended into the water. Definitely a special moment. During the service, it was a little chaotic, but as soon as we started singing the opening hymn, everything went perfect, and the Spirit filled the room. We talked with Willian´s mom, and she talked about how he has already changed, and is now spending more time with the family, helps her more, and is much more obedient. She called it a miracle, and hopes we can help some of her other children. She thanked and thanked us for helping Willian.

I've learned it's not us, as missionaries. We are messengers, bringing a message of hope and of peace. It's the Savior's message, and it's through Him and His atonement that people change. We try to teach people individually, as the Spirit guides, but our underlying message is the same. And it's amazing to see how the Lord has prepared people to hear the message. It's sad to see them reject it, usually just out of apathy, but it's even more amazing to see someone who has been prepared, accept and love the gospel. Willian has changed, and watching his life change with the gospel, as he has embraced it, has changed mine as well.

We went with a member to visit another referral, and unfortunately the referral didn't really work out, but as we were wondering around lost, trying to find the house, a guy called out Elders! and we talked with him quickly, wrote down his number and continued on. Sunday, we called him, re-invited him to church, and he came and loved it. He´s already visited the church when he lived in a different town, and had wanted to know more.

Like always, there´s been lots of special moments that I won´t recount at this moment.
And I´ll close with this thought. D&C 59;4 "And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me."

Commandments are a blessing. As we keep them, honor our covenants, and serve God, he will BLESS us with additional commandments. Commandments are here to bless us. They are not something to grudgingly attempt, but honestly to glory in. As Alma said (Alma 29;9), "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

And especially in this wonderful time of my life, this is my glory and work as well.


Elder Schenewark

P.S. I´ll mail the glasses today. And I hadn't been using repellent at this time, so no, maybe sunscreen, but i don´t think so.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

How was your week? It seems longer than a week since we've been in touch. Perhaps because pictures have not been sent. We miss you! Today Miller was shooting darts at your cardboard form. Just for fun, nothing personal. Nobody live in the house wanted to be hit so we offered your body instead.

Speaking of Miller, he was an orphan today. Dad's on the stand; I'm on the organ; Porter's blessing the sacrament; Cooper and Sawyer are passing the sacrament; Breyer is visiting me on the organ. Poor Miller held the entire pew by himself. Very reverently. He could use your company

Dad decided to do his announcements  after the sacrament meeting is over. So today was the first day, and everybody forgot. They all got to their feet, and had to have a good sit down. But it was most impressive when he told the congregation that he would like to attend Sunday School, and that if they needed to meet with any member of the bishopric, they could do so after the third hour.Lead by example. Loved it. Then, he admonished everybody to get out and vote, exercise those rights, and have a say in our elected officials.

The boys and  your father are still fishing. They'll sneak out a  few minutes a few times a week, just before sunset, and always catch one or two. If they have birthday money, they buy lures. The spring-like weather is coming to Texas, and your brother Sawyer is lamenting your not being here to take him to golf. I need to be better about getting them on the course, especially since they're free. Or at least to the driving range where they can hit a bucket of balls.

Porter began track this week, and the first time down the pole vaulting runway he turned and sprained his ankle. The trainer diagnosed it and he came home with a boot. Today he went to church with both shoes, and the swelling is down, so perhaps he'll be able to resume his pole vaulting attempts this week.

The van was returned Wednesday afternoon, to the painful amount of $625. It was an alternator. They found a few more worn parts, so we'll have to return soon and make another investment. It's good to be mobile. Breyer and I spent a quiet first half of the week, waiting for Dad to come home for wheels.

Dad filled up my van last night. Using the Kroger discount, he paid $.82 per gallon. $23 to fill up the 30 gallon beast of a van.

Basketball tournaments for all your brothers was this week. Porter's finished. Sawyer finished with a first round loss Wednesday. His team lost by a point. It was a great game. I could have cared less who won. Miller, ranked 6th out of 7th, surprisingly won his game against the 3rd ranked team Tuesday, played the 2nd ranked team Friday evening and won - again! His Tuesday game was his best. He was 7 out of the 11 points, 5 of which were from the line. Yesterday they played in the championships against the 1st ranked team and lost by a point, 5-4. These low scores don't in any way reflect the battle that's fought on the boards. He took quite a few shots but they weren't rolling in. He only had one point from the line. Miller was invited and is choosing to play in all stars this year, first year for him in basketball. It's only two weekend tournaments.

Sawyer and Miller also tried out for baseball this week. It just so happened to be the coldest night in a long time. I sat in the cold for two hours...freezing! I was in a skirt, as I came from a Relief Society dinner beforehand. There was a little controversy over Miller's former fall ball coach "protecting" him from the draft, without asking the parents, and telling the other coaches he wasn't draft-able. When it was all sorted out, Miller was instead able to choose a team he wanted to be on as recompense.

Tanner spent the weekend in a hotel in Salt Lake, as President of BYU ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Educating for Liberty). He's been enjoying the good life, and his #staycation.

The glass place needs to have your lens that are damaged before they can release the new lens, since they're under warranty. Unfortunately, you'll have to mail the glasses. If you want me to order your contacts, let me know. He adjusted your last prescription, and adjusted the contact lens prescription, and has a trial sample for you to try. I'll be mailing the sample to you and if you like them, we'll place an order. We can get you set with contacts before you ship your glasses, or you can keep wearing your old pair, and get your glasses shipped. Just let me know. Hopefully your old glasses aren't making you too miserable. I have a feeling perhaps your bug spray made your lens cloudy.

Today we celebrated the birthday of the Relief Society organization. It's a little early to the March actual date but this is the day that was available for us this year. And,since most women are available on Sunday, I chose to have a party in the 3rd hour. We had over ten women, elderly, in Primary, in Young Women, from all representatives of life, bear a brief testimony of the importance of Relief Society in their life. Most ladies' testimonies revolved around an especially meaningful visiting teacher. Of course there was food. The funny thing was we went long in the program, so the food began when church ended, and the whole ward ended up eating! I have such good ladies working under me. My newest additions to my board? Have I mentioned my humanitarian specialist responsible for monthly service projects? Yes? My latest will be a Relief Society publicist. I want her to write about the service projects, and the good things these women are doing.

Elder Nelson, quoting President Kimball, said, "Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world."

My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!

I want Granbury to k now of these articulate, happy, righteous women, and be drawn towards them and ultimately the restored gospel.

I love working with my missionaries. I wish you could be here with me.



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Granbury Pirates Varsity Basketball

The Granbury Pirates competed in the high school basketball playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons, but fell to Fort Worth Southwest 60-37 in the bi-district matchup on February 23, 2016, at North Crowley High School.

The GHS boys finished fourth in District 8-5A to earn the post-season berth.

The varsity squad included Keelen Ellison, Ethan Gonzalez, Michael Horne, Dalton Kennington, Brendan King, Jordan King, Eric Kirchner, Hayden Kostman, Kade Phillips, Porter Schenewark, Cade Timmons, and Chevie Van Patten.

Head coach David Breazeale was assisted by Steve Weeks, Stephen Hodge, Jason Shahan, and athletic trainer Andy Rankin.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Miller Madness

The Tanks finished sixth out of seven...beat the third ranked team to continue tourney play...Go Miller!

Miller had 7 out of the 11 points, 5/6 from the line!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tea Party for a Princess





Letter #27

Dear Family and Friends,

It looks like it was a fun week over there!

This week we too have been working on family history. We have a booklet we filled out, my family, stories that unite us. We have shared this as our message every day at lunch this week. I've written in it, and filled out the information, but could you send some pictures by email of grandparents, and great grandparents and I will print them here, and put them in the book?

This week, we had a division, so we both went to the Zone Leaders area. On our way there, E. Soares left his wallet on the bus, so our money was cut in half, and we had no way to get more, except to return to our area. But we pressed onward, and made it through, and definitely saw help. We made it back, after a couple miracles, with five cents between us.

We teach a lot of youth, as they are generally more accepting, and they're just the people we relate to better. This transfer, one of our goals was to find a big family. We decided to try and find a family with six children, who could be baptized, i.e. no problems with the parents not being married. And this past week, we did just that. It was definitely an answer to a prayer. So far, only the oldest son has listened to the lessons, and visited the church with us, but hopefully we can finally meet the mom this week, and they can all visit.

Okay, unexpected/funny moment of the week. At church yesterday, I´m fighting to stay awake, listening to the second speaker in sacrament meeting. Just trying to focus on the Portuguese, but my eyelids are fluttering. I think everyone knows this challenge. And then, boom! Something whacks me in the side of the head like a frying pan. I´m 100% awake immediately, and wondering if something from the ceiling fell, a kid in the row behind us whacked me, or if I just had the most vivid dream of my life. Turns out, a piece from the fan above, a little bigger than a dinner plate, but thankfully plastic fell from the ceiling, 15 feet above, and hit me perfectly. Bull´s eye.No more drowsiness in the church. Lesson learned.

As we've worked and struggled to help people go to church, and repent of sins, I feel like I can understand a lot better how Heavenly father feels with us. Sometimes I feel like saying to investigators, We´re just here to help! Let us help you. And it's the same thing that Christ and Heavenly Father feel. They just want us to be happy. To return to live with them. And it's difficult because people reject the Balm of Gilead. And yet, do we not at times do the same thing? Reject the arms of mercy extended always towards us?

As challenges arise here, I think I have really learned, for a lifetime, how to act. Elder Clayton Christensen said, talking about his decision to forgo playing in the college championship basketball game on Sunday, how it was an extenuating circumstance, but how life is one extenuating circumstance after another. And honestly it is. We have to choose the right. Follow the Spirit and we'll never go astray. The gospel is so simple. Like this, just follow the Spirit. Challenging, yes. But simple. I´m very grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Elder Schenewark

P.S. The other memory card didn't work, so I'll take it in to a shop. And can you mail the glasses lens here, or do I have to have to mail them there? There's places here that could put them in.

Monday, February 22, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

We love you. Tonight your brothers played your favorite game, Attack, because they missed you. And instead, taught Miller how to play. He loved it. You have a new fan.

Your father was amazing today, his first day at the pulpit. He had a baby blessing, and a confirmation. The young man has been to scout camp with him, and scouting activities for as long as we've been here. He called him up to the stand, shared his love of him with the ward,all, all new here in Granbury.

We also joined him for his early morning trip to the ward building. My van died while driving home from seminary Friday morning. What a blessing to have finished dropping off the eleven high and middle school students before, what I'm guessing to be the alternator, left me stranded in the middle of the downtown square. The tow truck driver took over an hour to appear, so by the time we met him at the repair shop and finished all the paperwork, it had taken me over two hours to get home. I'm so glad Dad hadn't left for work. Back to this morning. Our neighbors up the street could only take three bodies, so Miller and Cooper volunteered for the early morning run.

How fun to sit in ward correlation meeting with your father. He wisely walked into the room and chose to sit by me, glaring eyes daring him otherwise. He was marvelous. He asked for plans, but then followed through with specific action items they were taking today. He also posed three thoughts for the council to consider, and asking for their answers in two weeks. Consider these: Find specific family history blessings; how would this blessing benefit you; what can you do to increase family history work?

Know that your father's patriarchal blessings speaks of the spirit if Elijah that is powerfully manifested in him, and know this will be a theme for him in the years to come.

Breyer had a wonderful birthday party yesterday. I have a friend, who likes to plan parties and decorate, that collected pink things wherever she happened to see them, and had our ceiling shining with a pink glow from her decorations. Breyer danced all day Friday, just thinking of her tea party, and could barely sit on Saturday. Your grandmother bequeathed her mother's tea cups to her, so we unpacked them for the party. They made the table look beautiful. Your brothers were given tuxedo tee shirts, and played the part of hosts rather well. Sawyer was in charge of the games. We used sugar cubes to have a spoon relay, as well as a "Build Rapunzel's Tall Tower." They also used plastic tea cups and had a relay race to fill up a tea pot with water. Miller was suppose to be in charge of dancing, but backed out at the last minute, and helped serve foods. Cooper helped pour their pink strawberry milk and pink lemonade sparkly drink from tea pots. Jolly good times. You are a tea party expert, and I know she would have loved for you to be here.

She invited twelve little girls, from five families, but only had four come. She didn't care. She gathered up her gift bags, and brought them to the ward chili cook-off later that night, and brought her party to them. Along with my chili, I sent a double batch of cinnamon rolls that were exquisite, and huge. Almost the size of a small dinner plate. They sold four for $26, and I sent almost forty. Those cinnamon rolls raised $200 out of the almost $700 that was raised. Yeah!

Breyer decided in July that she liked ice cream cakes the best, because of AnneMarie, so I made her one. Three cartons of ice cream, homemade fudge sauce, and chocolate wafer cookies with a little whipped cream. Yum. Your brothers finished it off today. Leftovers are still rare over here.

The boys are all wrapping up their basketball seasons. Porter and his senior teammates were  interviewed after his game this week, for the local radio station. He nailed the interview...we keep checking to see if it has been posted. Sawyer played Friday evening, and Miller Saturday afternoon. They'll finish their season this week in a single-elimination tournament. And don't blink. Baseball tryouts are Thursday evening. Cooper had an all day tennis tournament. He won his first and second matches, and lost his third and fourth, putting him in fourth place.

These are two news articles that caught my attention this week:
A therapy that retrains the body's immune system to fight cancer has provoked excitement after more than 90% of terminally ill patients reportedly went into remission. White blood cells were taken from patients with leukaemia, modified in the lab and then put back.

Washington (CNN)Russia plans to modify some of its intercontinental ballistic missiles to destroy asteroids before they hit Earth, according to a top Russian rocket researcher. The United States is also working on ways to prevent asteroids from hitting Earth, but is taking a very different approach. Instead of blowing up the space rocks, NASA plans to shove them away from the planet.

This week will be quiet, not having a second vehicle. We hope all is going well, that your mango mouth is healing, and your spirits high. Know of our love for you!



Friday, February 19, 2016

Miller's Moment

Congratulations, Miller!

You are my Shining Star for the 4th Six Weeks! I always put much thought into who I want to give this great honor to. This time, there was no doubt who I would choose. Miller, you are an exemplary student! I love how you listen so attentively as I teach. You make good choices when others may be trying to distract you. I am so proud of how you always strive to do your very best on every assignment.

Miller, I appreciate how respectful you are to me and your classmates. How excited I was to award you the Academic Achievement Award for only missing two on a very difficult and long math test! Great job! I know there will be many, many more academic awards for all your hard work. It is a joy to call you my student and I wish you great success as you finish second grade and move up to third.

You are THE student in class that everyone else can look up to. Congratulations, Miller! You truly are a Shining Star!

Mrs. Atherton

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016