Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Letter #45

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, you commented that my letters have been getting a little shorter, and I think that´s going to continue this week. There just really isn't much happening.

This week has been really, really tough in terms of work. We keep plugging along, but don´t seem to be making progress. We literally did not get into any houses this week. If we ask for water, they bring it out. If we offer to leave a message, they come out to hear. We have been unable to teach a second lesson for about two weeks. The only place we actually entered, were the tents of a different gypsy camp.

We are now reporting attendance of Sacrament meeting, and this week, only 26 made it to church. Yesterday, I was the final speaker in sacrament, and talked 20 minutes on how to increase power in the priesthood.

Also this week, we were able to have a zone conference and interviews with Pres. Young. Like always, it was wonderful to have, and the time passed so, so quickly.

Later today, we will be going to visit some old sugar cane plantation houses, which I´m excited for. Like I said, that´s really it. We´re putting in a full day of work and making sure we do our part and I'm really enjoying having Elder Cavalcante as a companion, so life here is good. To leave a challenge, it would be to do as Elder Russell M. Nelson said in April conference. "Pray to know how to pray to have more power in the priesthood. And, remember he said, if you really want more power, it's important to embrace both your spouse and her counsel.

 Love you all!!!

Elder Schenewark

Monday, June 27, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, and missionary friends,

This week a lot of letters, the ABCs, have been running through my mind. Breyer asks to work on her letters, knowing school is in her near future. If her letter passes inspection, I erase it. If she needs more work, it stays on the board. Usually K, G, Z are the most common culprits. Me? I'm working on the alphabet soup of work. There are the usual FBI, DEA. Now, NTATTF, PES, SID, CID, PIO, etc.

Miller and Sawyer spent the mornings this week at the high school basketball camp. The coaches there make the camp fun, so I was willing to pay And your brothers did well. The camp was divided into two groups. Miller's group was 2nd through 5th, and Sawyer's 6th through 9th grade. Out of the eight overall awards, four in each age group, your brothers came home with three.

Not much else was scheduled this week. Your father and brothers recovered from scout camp. Just putting away equipment can take a week! Cooper has one regular mow job. Porter hasn't been able to find a job.

Porter spoke last week for father's day. It was a surprise. And a great talk. The ward loved him. Dad felt loved. Best gift ever.

Your letters are getting shorter. But we can feel the love. I hope you feel my love today. Truly, we're so happy and proud of you and your choices. You've been such a great example to your siblings.



Friday, June 24, 2016

Basketball Camp Hardware

1st place Hot Shot
1st place Lay-Ups
2nd place Free-Throws
2nd place Hot-Shot
2nd place Lay-Ups

1st place Lay-Ups OVERALL
1stplace Hot-Shot OVERALL


1st place Hot-Shot
1st place Hot-Shot OVERALL

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Scout Camp

Sid Richardson Scout Ranch
Bridgeport, TX

Ga Ga ball

service project (shoe rack)

king snake eating a rattlesnake

scorpion at night with a UV light

Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter #44

Dear Family and Friends,

The mission is rocking right now. The work is tough here, no one went to church yesterday. Yet, I finally feel like we are doing everything right, guided by the spirit and I am loving every minute.

Nothing big to report, just little moments each day I never want to forget. Quissamã is home to the Tender Mercies. I love Elder Cavalcante, He's a great missionary. Tuesday, he thought we should fast, so we did, and immediately we saw some blessings, meeting new people and receiving some guidance on what we could do better.

Lately, we've been praying a lot in people´s houses. When they say yes, we would like a prayer here, we ask what they would ask Jesus Christ for, if he were here in our place. And then kneel and pray. It's been amazing. The Spirit is always there, filling the house. And, together with our English class initiative, we´re starting to gain more and more traction here in Quissamã. What we had been doing, just wasn't effective here, and I really like our new route.


And, yesterday, we saw a big one. We were sitting at a park bench after lunch yesterday, teaching an old man, and a person on a bike stopped and asked to talk with me. He said that he´d been visiting a doctor, getting treated in Campos (other city) for some time, and the doctor, who is a member of the church said he should talk to missionaries. So, he stopped us, and we´re returning to his house today!

protest against the gov't

Elder Cavalcante has been helping me learn how to cook like a Brasilian. It's been fun, and brought a lot odd variety into my cookbook. But, this week, we opened up the Rudy´s sauce and that was fantastic.  You just can´t beat the best.

That´s about it. Like I said, nothing big to report. This week we´ll head up to Campos for a meeting and pick up the mail there. Share the gospel with someone this week!


Elder Schenewark

Sunday, June 19, 2016

With All My Love - Impeding Traffic

Dear Elder Schenewark, and missionary friends,

How are you? Another week of communicating with you via email. What a blessing! Don't even want to think about the old days of weekly letters mailed, or the older days of letters here and there. I'm grateful that we are able to communicate to easily and often. If there were to be a third day, when you could call home, it should be Father's Day. Your father is the other half of you, and is just as necessary, even tenderhearted in regards to his sons. He loves you dearly. Porter made this beautiful cake for your father. Delicious!

Cooper, when speaking with Tanner and AnneMarie,wished Tanner a "Happy Father's Day!" upon which Breyer then asked, "Is the baby in the hospital?" Too funny. Also funny! The man satchel Porter made your father, for his BIGFOOT deck of cards. Matchels might be the thing of the future!

Breyer in the kitchen is a force to be reckoned with. She's always more than happy to step on her "BREYER" step stool to play in the water. I gave her the job of first, pulling all the cups out of the sink, to load in the dishwasher. The sink was too full to do any rinsing. Then the plates. Her moans of disgust at having to touch slimy dishes was funny. Her gags over food encrusted bowls and silverware humorous. Her revulsion at inches thick taco dip encrusted in a serving bowl hysterical until I reminded her of the hose that squirts. Then I was the one screaming as she forgot to put the bowl into the sink before squirting. Good times being a mom, even if water was every where but the kitchen sink. The best.

 Your father, Sawyer and Cooper all went to scout camp this week. That left Breyer, Miller, Porter and myself to man the fort. Look forward to those pictures soon. Here are a few for you to enjoy! Your father's favorite moment appears to be when they fed the rattlesnake to the king snake.

I mowed 2/3 or 3/4 of the acre of grass yesterday, in shifts. Nearing 100 degrees, with 105 heat index, even starting early in the morning, was hard work. I find many things in the grass when I mow. Yesterday it was six baseballs, that went into my short pockets; four golf balls, which go into my chest "pockets" and the arrow, which went down the shirt on my back. I wondered what people thought of my misshapen body while they drove by. If  not the low hanging shorts, most likely it was the arrow that raised the eyebrows. Made me think of things that we drop here and there in our journey of life, that should be picked up. Often we drop a negative comment, or act indifferent, or present false information. We need to tend to these things we drop aside in our life. I need to pick up what my children drop, to ensure more fully the dangers of mowing will be mitigated, just as tending to those insubstantial items in our "grass" will clean up our souls.

The adventures at work this week seem to be on the road coming home. Leaving at 4 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. makes the commute a little longer. One day there was a small car balanced on top of the cement barrier between the east and westbound traffic. Really? Another day I just missed an accident, and was able to quickly drive by the three lane accident, in the median, and saw three vehicles, two of which lost their front tire and were resting on their axles. Another day I was almost home, and had to sit for 45 minutes as all lanes of the state highway were closed because of an accident. Let's be careful out there! More considerate, a little slower, and always alert. We all want to get home safely.

That's the news from Lake Granbury, where all the women are wrinkled, all the men are bowlegged, and all the children drawl.

Love you so much!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Tribute to Mr. Brown Sign

Dear Sons,

Since many of you have been or currently are involved in lawns, and the business thereof, I couldn't help but think of each of my sons this morning, mowing before the century temperature mark inches any closer.

I am amazed at the difference in our lawn as compared to almost two years ago. We arrived, walked around the house, and my immediate reaction was, "Why is my grass crunching?" The more familiar I became with my surroundings, the more I realized it was mostly in two areas: those that had too much sun and flood water.

By the end of the first year, I happily noted that by the time the hot weather was finished, the sparse, crunchy spots had remarkably shrunk. This I attributed to, while cutting the grass, letting the clippings fall. A whole year of clippings can add up to a little bit of mulch, much  needed protection under this hot Texas sun, and when it rains, lots of it.

Closing in on year two, and although not near the end of the hot season, the hot spots are in even better shape. Mulching by not bagging the grass while mowing has made a huge difference, and was such an innocuous and unintentional act on my part.

I hope you boys know how lucky you are to have your father. I consider him the mulch in your lives, that has made your lawn of life lush, verdant, bare-foot walking quality. He wanted to be a professional NFL kicker, but knew once he committed to joining the church he'd have to set aside that dream. He realized after having only three of you boys, he'd also have to set aside his collegiate coaching career. He gave up his dream of living in California in order to have more children, as I kept having miscarriages due to the refinery environment. His earthly goals were not as important as his eternal goals. He lives his life in such a way to allow you the possibility to dream and reach your goals. His clippings, as he's trimmed his own lawn, have left your lives so enriched, so full of the blessings of the gospel and family,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Letter #43

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy 25th anniversary! In Brasil, they don´t have Valentines Day like us, but they do celebrate something called Dia dos Namorados, or roughly, Day of the Lovers. And it just so happens, its celebrated every June 12! So, ya'll picked the day well.

This week has been weird. We've had weird food, weird weather, and some weird predicaments, but through it, I have witnessed and been blessed by many tender mercies of the Lord.

My new comp is Elder Cavalcante, from Fortaleza. There are thirty Americans here, and twenty-six missionaries from Fortaleza. The church is really strong there, and I wasn't surprised to have another companion from that area. So far, it's been really good to have him as a companion. Like really good. We are working hard and getting along really well.

Wednesday to Sunday, we had a very strong and unusual cold front come in. The winds have been whipping and the temperatures dipping. No one is in the streets, but everyone lets us inside their houses to talk. One night, it got down to 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Almost broke the record here. Poor Elder Cavalcante has been suffering, having the coldest week of his life, in his words. We picked up some blankets from members for him, weathered the storm, and today the sun is back out.

Quissamã has a large and known bat population, and our house is filled with them. We always make sure to close the windows and haven´t had a problem with them except for the shrieking at night. But, the landlord will be redoing the roof and fixing some things, so we moved houses, larger and nicer, as the landlord wants us to stay for eternity. So it's been a nice change.

Quissamã, also, besides having (vampire...) bats also has a large gypsy population. They live on the outskirts of town  in tents and we visited them and it actually went very well. It was one of those times we walked in with faith not knowing what to expect. They received us really well, and each successive tent would tell us another tent we had to visit.

So, in short, we´re moving forward. Enjoying the work, and this opportunity in our lives to share the eternal truth that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the blessings this gospel brings into my live. Namely that families can be eternal. Love you lots,

Elder Schenewark

Make yourself at home.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, and missionary friends,

This week ended on a somber note, as early this morning there was a mass shooting in Orlando, at a nightclub. It appears to be a hate crime, by a lone gun man, as well as possibly considered a terroristic incident, as he pledged himself to ISIS, via 911, from the club. Over fifty were killed, and over fifty are hospitalized. The Book of Mormon, in 4 Nephi 1:39 mentions, "And they were taught to hate." Unfortunately, that is the culture of today. Your message of peace and love, and the gift of the atonement, is such a contradictory message, and so needed in this world. I'm grateful for your efforts. I need to ramp up my contributions. And they were taught to love, and be tolerant, to not judge, to have compassion and understanding, is my message today, as well as my responsibility.

This incident surely caused us all at work to think "What if" scenarios, here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis. Gun incidents or other crimes that are violent, are increasing, I had to deal with a few this week myself. But a mass shooting incident, which appears to be increasing in frequency - not yet.

The homeowners association asked homeowners this year to not mow, so the Monarch butterfly migration route can be strengthened and the declining population protected. Milkweed grows frequently here in Bentwater, and the longer it can grow the better the butterfly survival. So our grass is long. We registered our address. Because of this long grass, and all the rain we received, your brothers and I dealt with suicide bombers of the mosquito variety. You would have been miserable. Five o'clock in the afternoon, a very sunny 90 degrees, and they chased me all over the yard. With the growling lawn mower running, I could hear them. They looked like black horseflies. Gigantic! I tried to keep moving, almost running, but they still found me. I slapped down twenty two. Surely that qualifies me for ACE status. And this wasn't in the boggy, low land, more wet area of the yard. This was on a slope that's very rocky with sparse growth. Sawyer tried helping me the next day, and Porter the day after. He probably was hit hardest, as he had no shirt, and found out the hard way since we forgot to mention the intimidating death squad. He had over thirty welts. Not good news with Zika viruses confirmed here in Texas, as well as West Nile Virus.

Other newsworthy items? There have been two California earthquakes this week, one in San Diego, and one two hours away, inland. This does NOT make me happy! If and when California rumbles, shakes and splits, I don't want your brother there. He mentioned he could feel the quake in San Diego on line, but we haven't spoken with him yet.

Sawyer and Miller entered a youth golf tournament at the country club course this week. I came home from work to Miller's enthusiastic, "I got first place!" And, he was the only entrant in his age division. Sawyer placed second, missing first by one stroke, and there were a total of four. There are two more tournaments this summer they're excited to enter. Sawyer edged into classic mode using your grandfather's wooden putter.

Cooper has one weekly confirmed mow job, one sporadic weed job, and a miscellaneous "we'll-find-something-for-you-to-do-when-you-call" job. His mowing customer lives right across the lake from us, and told Cooper instead of driving all the way down and around to get to his house, just call, and he'll pick him up at the marina in his boat. Fun! Maybe I'll go help him mow for a ride on the lake. He had extra bucks after his scout camp bill was paid, and begged to go to Academy wherein he purchased his own cot and camping fan.

Dad had us do a practice run with the large tent for scout camp. The boys leave in the morning, and Porter's in charge of Miller and Sawyer. My living room has been full of backpacks, sleeping bags, fishing poles, camping chairs, etc. all in preparation for the next six days. They'll have a ball together. They're expert fishermen, compared to years past, and will, I'm sure, have many stories to share upon their return.

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. Wow. Your father has now been married to me longer than not. I have yet to reach that plateau. I hope his last quarter of a century has been bliss.

Love from Loveland,


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Just a Snake

The library program was a success:
She checked out four snake books!
(And she was the only one!)
And, she insisted on his autograph.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wonder Boy's Whistle

Sawyer spent hours trying to carve a whistle out of wood. Peeling the bark off, and putting it back on, for the "whistle" was most difficult.

Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company

(Hunter's visit HERE)