Sunday, July 31, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

THIS face is one you shouldn't forget. Isn't it adorable?

This face is one that is quickly realizing it's not so fun to gut a fish. For the first time. There are many things, sometimes unpleasant, that can cause us to pull such a face. Like having gum disease, and having to visit the dentist. Your brothers went on a camp out this weekend,

The troop loaded canoes in a trailer, with the vests and paddles, and took off lunchtime on Friday. Even with 100 degrees heat, your brothers said it was the best camp out ever. At least in Texas. Dad got up there later, with all the food.

This is your brother's face before he realized how it FELT to saw through the fish. He was the only one to catch a fish. Leaders in the canoes who came back empty handed were slightly jealous. But your brother practices. Often. And used his skills to land the catch.

Cooper tied a huge log to his canoe, to stabilize it, so he could stand up and be a Pacific islander. Such are the things scouts do away from civilization.

While the boys were camping, we went to the library's final summer reading program. Breyer was called up from the audience for the second summer in a row. She was very shy. I was surprised.

Remember Uncle Ben L.and his family in your prayers. He had a small cut that became infected and traveled, and is in the ICU. He is a lucky man, having your aunt to watch over him and be an advocate. She most definitely saved his life, and his arm.

Family Home Evening. What a glorious institution. Before we even began we got a call from the Bachs. They called to share the letter they got from you. It was their Family Home Evening treat. Our treat was taken care of by Dad and Breyer. They found a recipe in The Friend for chocolate covered bananas rolled in chopped walnuts and made them. And froze them. Very nice when we're been over 100 degrees all week. Your letter arrived here as well. We loved it. Breyer was very appreciative of her bracelet. Thank you for sharing.

Your siblings are getting ready to go to California. The long awaited summer trip to visit Tanner, AnneMarie and your grandfather is finally here. Cooper and I will be holding down the fort. He has tennis try outs and practice. But they are all excited.

The only Breyer-ism this week involved crying. "Mom, I don't ever want to leave you. I'm never getting married." Okay. Fine with me.

I have been thinking of tithing a lot this week, and love this quote from Pres. Hunter. "The Lord has established the law of tithing, and because it is his law, it becomes our obligation to observe it if we love him and have a desire to keep his commandments and receive his blessings. In this way it becomes a debt." I'm thankful I was taught to pay tithing, and have no doubt as to the blessings it provides in our lives.

You too are a blessing.

We love you dearly, and are excited to read this week's letter.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Go Dad!

A Brief History of Mormon Prayers at the Republican National Convention

By Christopher
July 26, 2016

Last week, Nathan Johnson, an African-American convert to Mormonism who currently serves as second counselor in the Kirtland Ohio Stake Presidency, offered the invocation on the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson’s prayer attracted a fair amount of attention, both because of Mormons’ widespread distaste for Donald Trump and his campaign and because of the prayer’s content. But Johnson was not the first Latter-day Saint to pray at the Republican National Convention. In fact, four out of the last five have featured invocations by Mormons: Steve Young (2000), Sheri Dew (2004), Ken Hutchins (2012), and Nathan Johnson (2016). Only the 2008 convention lacked a Latter-day Saint prayer.[1]

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare their respective prayers, to note any commonalities between them (beyond use of thee, thou, and thine), and to consider the contexts in which they were given. What follows below is a transcription of each invocation, followed by my preliminary attempt to briefly historicize each.

2000 – Steve Young (introduced as “one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Mr. Steve Young”):

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. This day, Father, we gather to acknowledge thee in gratitude for this great nation, for thy goodness, and for thy love. We thank thee for the privilege to worship thee, as those with different beliefs, but solid faith. We thank thee for thy spirit, that fills the minds and hearts of all, individually and collectively. And may we have that privilege throughout the day. We are here as a body to represent this nation, and feel the beauty of our differences in culture, race, and heritage, as a gift of freedom, one to cherish and protect. At this time of prosperity, yet great need, may every delegate profoundly understand and fulfill the obligation they have been given by the people and by thee, Father. All will be accountable to set the example for the world, to value the worth of every living soul, and value the liberty that is inherently deserved. May our own souls be searched in recognition of our obligation to the elderly, the sick, the homeless, the children, the noble veterans and present military, all those that are born and unborn, and to all those who look to our shores for respite. We worship thee, Father, and we thank thee for the beauty of this land. May we tend it well and account to thee for this gift. May our children look to their leaders as people of integrity, worthy of emulation. May those elected be filled with charity and love, and follow your commandments. We ask thee to endow this convention with an outpouring of thy spirit, so that all will accept this opportunity as a holy obligation. And tonight, we also ask a special blessing to be upon President and Mrs. Ford, at the time of healing that is necessary. We thank thee again, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2004 – Sheri Dew (introduced as “a business executive, author, and humanitarian involved in family-focused issues around the world”):

"My friends, I invite you to join with me in a word of prayer: Heavenly Father, we come before thee as citizens who care about this nation to thank thee for this land of liberty where we have the freedom to live and voice our opinions, and vote, and worship as we choose. We are deeply grateful for the evidence of Thy hand in the founding of this nation, and in its inspired constitution. We are grateful for every man and woman who wears the uniform of the United States, and ask thee to bless them and their families. We pray for the wisdom and courage to protect and defend all families, for our nation is only as strong as its homes. We are grateful for a Commander in Chief who seeks Thy guidance. Wilt thou bless him with wisdom and courage. We plead with thee for peace and for our continued freedom; not only freedom from those who would terrorize us and encroach upon our borders and our peace of mind, but freedom from acrimony and freedom from lapses in our integrity. We pray for Thy Spirit to be with us today, that we may be discerning and wise. We love Thee, Father, and we thank Thee for loving us. We worship Thee in many ways, but as a follower of Jesus Christ, and in behalf of all who believe likewise, we offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

2012 – Ken Hutchins (introduced as “Ken Hutchins of Massachusetts”):

Our kind and loving Heavenly Father, we bow our heads in prayer at the beginning of this occasion, and feel to thank thee for the wondrous blessings that fill our lives: The beauty of the heavens and the earth, and all things on it, that were created under thy hands as a lasting testament to us of thy love for us. Father, in a world of turmoil, where evil seeks evil, we humbly pray for those who suffer, both physically and spiritually. We pray for the little children, Father, those who are often left homeless and hungry and afraid. Bless us to see with compassionate eyes and to have our hearts filled with the desire to reach out and provide of our substance so that those who have lost their homes, those who feel the ravages of disease and war and famine, might receive succor and be filled with rays of hope and faith that mortal life will yet prosper them and help them to draw close to thee. We thank thee, Father, for the healing gifts of the atonement of thy son, Jesus Christ, and his resurrection. We know it is by and through those sacred offerings that we thy children can be cleansed and made worthy to return to thee. We thank thee for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the testator of truth, and the instrument through which we may have a spiritual witness of thee and thy son. Now lift us, Father. Help us to have a joyous heart in our homes, in our families, and in this great land that was born of the kind of freedoms that bless us with the capacity to worship to the dictates of our conscience. This prayer is offered in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2016 – Nathan Johnson] (introduced as “Nathan Johnson, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”):

Our loving Father in Heaven, we thy children bow our heads and give thee thanks for this beloved nation, for its inspired founding, and for the freedoms we enjoy. We ask for thy blessing upon tonight’s proceedings, and upon those who will be participating. Please bless all of our leaders, Father, that they may have wisdom and humility as they serve. We thank thee for all those men and women who serve to protect this country and defend her freedoms. Please watch over them and comfort their families. We ask, Father, that thou wilt bless our enemies, and we pray for those who oppose our ideals and seek to do us harm, that their hearts will be softened. Please bless all who are afflicted physically, emotionally, or spiritually, especially children. Bless those who are affected by disaster or violence or terror, those who go without, those who suffer with sickness, pain, doubt, loneliness, or grief. May they be comforted through thy spirit and helped through our acts of selfless service. Bless us that we may be a people that pray to thee, that with bowed head or on bended knee, we in this heaven-rescued land may praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation. And Father, we pray for healing: Healing for our society, healing for the family, even that healing that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We pray that He who is the Great Physician may mend our division and contention and bring us peace in our world, in our communities, and in our homes. We humbly pray, in the name of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

There are a lot of recognizable tropes of Mormon prayer in each of the four examples above, many of which are to be expected given the venue: an emphasis on the United States as a chosen land of liberty, invoking God’s spirit to lead and inspire the country’s rulers, and a focused concern for those on society’s social and economic margins, to name just three. Many of the platitudes offered and blessings requested are similar enough from one prayer to the next that they might be able to be swapped out one for another. Each reads deliberately nonpartisan, likely a result of Mormons in the public eye being constantly aware of how their own partisanship might be inaccurately understood to be the church’s. But the content of each can only be fully understood in the context in which it was given. A quick overview of each, then:

In 2000, Republicans were seeking to win back the White House from a scandal-plagued Bill Clinton. They were also conscientiously reaching out to minority voters and to recast their conservatism in more compassionate terms. Steve Young’s prayer reflects both of those points, praying that (presumably contra Clinton) “our children [may] look to their leaders as people of integrity, worthy of emulation,” and singling out for praise “the beauty of our differences in culture, race, and heritage,” calling it “a gift of freedom, one to cherish and protect.” In their coverage of the convention, the Deseret News celebrated the expanding tent of the GOP, deeming it “not your father’s Republican National Convention,” and quoting both delegates of color from Utah. They also imagined Young’s invocation as a potential first step into the political sphere. The Hall of Fame quarterback had just retired less than a year earlier, and the Deseret News was already imagining a potential U.S. House or Senate run in either Utah (where he’d face other “heavyweights,” including “Jon Huntsman Jr., or Mitt Romney”) or California. What became of Young’s political ambitions is unclear. In 2008, he stated that “I chose long ago not to be publicly active in the political process,” though he and (especially) his wife, Barbara, have been strong supporters of gay rights in the recent past.

What Steve Young thought of gay marriage in 2000 is unclear, but that subject underscores much of the invocation offered by Sheri Dew four years later at the RNC. “They called me out of the blue,” Dew told the Deseret News after being invited to offer the invocation in 2004. “I do feel like it was a privilege to pray for the country in a setting like that. I think it is remarkable they invited a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to pray, and even more so a woman.” Indeed, Dew’s status as a successful Latter-day Saint businesswoman and author almost certainly played a part in the invitation. But so, too, did her emergence as an outspoken voice in defense of “traditional marriage.” Just months before the convention, Dew joined with others at the Washington, D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center for an Interfaith Conference on Defending Marriage and the Family. There, she gave a speech describing in detail the “dramatic and terrifying” prospect of gay marriage, and rhetorically likening the situation to that of “pre-World War II Europe, … when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground.” Unsurprisingly, the speech attracted no small amount of attention (including some from within the still-very young bloggernacle). It also likely placed her on the radar of the RNC in the months leading up to the 2004 convention, where gay marriage emerged as a significant issue to a degree previously unimagined. When Sheri Dew, then, prayed “for the wisdom and courage to protect and defend all families,” she almost certainly had in mind primarily those led by a father and mother.[2]

No Mormon prayed at the 2008 Republican National Convention, but the convention that followed four years later featured not only a Mormon prayer, but also multiple Mormon speakers, and, of course, a Mormon nominee for President. Mitt Romney invited Ken Hutchins, a retired Massachusetts police chief, to offer the invocation in 2012. Hutchins had served as one of Romney’s counselors in the Boston Massachusetts Stake, and then later replaced him as Stake President. Although the television graphic that accompanied the livestream of Hutchins’s prayer identified as “Stake President – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” Hutchins was at the time serving as Stake Patriarch. He was also suffering from leukemia and had just finished another round of chemotherapy. It is that personal background, more than any obvious political context, that shaped the content of his invocation (or at least how I read it), as he prayed “for those who suffer, both physically and spiritually.” But the political context is still there, reflecting especially ongoing concerns over the state of America’s economy (which was, of course, central to Romney’s campaign) and its involvement in foreign wars. Hutchins prayed for those “left homeless and hungry and afraid,” and then, in true Mormon fashion, asked God to “bless us to see with compassionate eyes and to have our hearts filled with the desire to reach out and provide of our substance so that those who have lost their homes [and] those who feel the ravages of disease and war and famine.”

Nathan Johnson’s appearance on the schedule for the 2016 Republican National Convention elicited some surprised reactions. Many Mormons, after all, have been outspoken in their opposition to GOP nominee Donald Trump, including Mitt Romney. What might Johnson say, people wondered. The answer to that question? Pretty much the same thing most other Mormon participants have prayed for previously at the RNC: gratitude for our freedoms, blessings for our leaders, and for opportunities to serve those in need. It is unclear whether Johnson intended his words as such, but they struck a note of reason, rationality, and charity amidst a series of speeches decidedly less so. Perhaps most striking was Johnson’s plea for God to “bless our enemies,” to soften the hearts of “those who oppose our ideals and seek to do us harm,” as well as his recognition that only God can “mend our division and contention and bring us peace in our world.” That message stood (and stands) in stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s claim that “I alone can fix” those problems.

Given both the uncertain future of the Republican Party and the place of Mormons within it, it will be interesting to see if future conventions continue to feature LDS participants.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby Large Mouth Bass and Her Fish

(Sharing Sawyer's fish...since he didn't have a catch)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Letter #49

Dear Family and Friends,

Yes, I have been called to be District Leader here. We are pretty isolated, so the district consists of the four missionaries here in the town, serving the branch of Itaperuna. My new companion is Elder Nascimento, again, from Fortaleza. I arrived Tuesday and we got right to work. We've already met a lot of great people and Sunday had a contingency show up to visit the church.  

A little about Itaperuna: The city is crisscrossed by two rivers and its name comes from some Indian natives who lived in the area, meaning `trail of the black rocks,` as the the rivers are framed with these rocks. Historically, its been a coffee producing powerhouse, but now has evolved more adding a milk factory and relying less on coffee. It reminds me a lot of Cachoeiro, with the river and lots of hills and mountains to climb. This was an interesting cemetery:

The branch averages about 40 people on Sundays, but is growing. Missionaries arrived here only seven years ago. The church being new here, there are great opportunities to grow. And, this is definitely the most youthful area. There are a bunch of active youth who really make this branch dynamic and exciting. I neglected to take pictures of the church building but will the next time. It´s beautiful and I think the coolest meetinghouse I've seen. It's in an old house, a mansion. The classrooms are on the first floor, punctuated by floor to ceiling wooden bookshelves and decorative pillars. And upstairs, is the chapel, seating about 100, with almost entirely glass walls. Add to that a giant veranda overlooking the river. #IwantToLiveHere. There was a pool on the second story balcony but after an accident, they closed it up, and now have a portable pool for baptisms.

Thursday was our first district meeting together. I decided to talk about vision as I wanted to know the missionaries better and create our vision for this transfer. And, even better than the meeting was what I prefer to think of as a team building exercise. Saturday we went to the church to help take out the old benches from the church and set up new chairs. We got there early, and brought all the chairs (100+) up to the second floor, and in the hardest part, brought all the benches down from the second floor before cleaning and setting up. And, we worked together very well, finishing everything before the branch president arrived with a couple others to help. They were amazed we had already finished. The arms were sore, but the hearts happy.

Recently I read a scripture in 1 Nephi 11:17 I want to share. It says ´"I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." For me, the faith of Nephi is definitely inspiring. We don´t need to know everything. We know that God loves us, and that can be enough sometimes. Simply trust in the plan He has for us, even if we don´t understand 100% of the why.


Elder Schenewark

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

What a wonderful email from your President. Congratulations aren't appropriate, but you have them anyway. We're so proud of you and the trust you've engendered from your leader.

You sent us a picture last week we had no information about, as well as the link of you on the air:

I found this wonderful tidbit in my mail this week: "NEW LONDON, CT- A Ledyard resident was recently elected to lead a newly established church in New London, the Norwich Bulletin reported.

Richard Hutchins will serve as the first stake president of the New London Connecticut Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the Norwich Bulletin.

Hutchins formerly was president of the Providence Stake, as reported by the Norwich Bulletin. That district included 16 congregations that had grown under him."

And, on the other end of New England your grandmother is trying to get the local Catholic congregation to join her in touring the New London temple. She wrote, "Our local priest, Father Houston wants to go again.  We took him to the Boston Temple and he has asked to go to the Hartford Temple. Maybe some other good Catholics will go as well. Two Sundays ago, Father Houston talked about Grampy from the pulpit, how he had to be rushed to the hospital, how faithful Grampy is in fulfilling his commitments.  We have a wonderful relationship with him."

I mention both these stories as their example goes a long way in establishing relationships in the community. You learned a bit of this principle in your last area, working with your English class. Use this new area to build upon your experience. Initiating good things in the community goes a long way in furthering your efforts

Your aunt and uncle vacationed to Oakland, CA this week. In celebration of their anniversary they returned to Uncle Steve's mission. Pictures have been showing them on the coast, at his old church,  at the temple, in front of Redwood trees. Fun! I thought you'd enjoy seeing the new Uncle Steve. I think he's lost close to one hundred pounds.

I spent the week in Fort Worth going to a forty hour training class. Very informative, and I started the day four hours later! Loved sleeping in a bit more. I got home earlier as well. And, I enjoyed bringing some new things to the table at work, as well as a few questions and concerns. Learning is wonderful.. I hope you enjoy your early morning study time as much.

This week's favorite livestock call? Wild hogs, running loose in a field behind a large apartment complex. And because of the urban setting, they can only be trapped.

This is Sawyer's favorite sign of the week:

This is G.I. Joe love from Miller:

This is Cooper;s newest plane creation, made out of foam plates. And it floats.

Breyer is progerssing by leap and bounds with her letters and comprehension. One day she brought a paper to me with T-O-E and said, "Look, Mom! I know how to write foot!" Too funny. Now that she knows what she's spelling, she'll share her TOE expertise with any visitors. Tonight she conquered MAN. And she gets it.

Our washing machine doesn't agitate. I can't believe how much agitating helps clean the clothes. We've decided to just buy a new machine instead of trying to have it fixed. We didn't care for it very much, and it's already been through a move, and wash for an army. In the meantime, I've been making weekly trips to the laundry mat. Your brothers and sister usually come and help. Having five or six machines at your disposal makes doing the wash easy. And all the counter space where you can fold and pile, make dividing easy. It might be hard to go back to loads of laundry!

I forgot to mention Sawyer and Miller were in another golf tournament. Sawyer got third out of six, and Miller was first again, the only one in his division. They played on the country club course. Miller told me he got one over par on every hole except one, on which he got par. He's good. Sawyer's cute. You are a great example. Your brothers ask about you often. Breyer asks daily, "How much longer?" 

I know how much longer. And I'll love you the whole time. Be good, stay safe. Be true.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Amazing Astronomy

Dear Hunter,

Thanks for sharing. Again. Sawyer loves your telescope. Not that he uses it everyday. Just every once in a while he gets an urge. I love the photos. Just wanted to let you know we were thinking of you!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Leading Others

Dear Brother and Sister Schenewark:

It has truly been a pleasure to feel the presence and spirit of Elder Schenewark in our mission. He has become an influence for good, and our Heavenly Father has molded him into a powerful missionary. I am very grateful that he chose to serve a mission, and is here sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people in the Brazil Vitória Mission.

Not only have the lives of many people here in Brazil been blessed as a result of his efforts, but the Lord has also blessed Elder Schenewark's life. He is prospering – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. His testimony of Jesus Christ is strong, and he shares it daily to the benefit of his fellowman. Because of his testimony and the desire he has to serve the Lord, he has truly become an instrument in His hands.

Elder Schenewark has proven to be a skilled motivator of others. He works hard, and sets a good example for those around him. He is becoming more Christ-like. Because of the leadership capacity and exemplary obedience that he has shown, the Lord has called him to serve in our mission as a District Leader. Without a doubt, he will fulfill this calling with honor and dignity. He has been, and will continue to be, a blessing for our mission.

Once again, I congratulate you for his success. Certainly, the influence that you and the church have had and currently have is helping him to become an exemplary missionary. I thank you for helping him to dedicate this period of his life to the Lord's service, and for your prayers on his behalf.


President David E. Young
Missão Brasil Vitória

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pampering the Princess

One neighbor...
Two bottles of nail polish...
And lots of love!

Breyer's BFF

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Hunter,

We hope you are well! You are in our prayers. Keep pushing onward. The destination is worth the work.

On a less inspiring note, you may or may not have heard about the recent Pokemon Go craze sweeping the planet. It is a craze. Any day, anytime of day, you can find groups of kids and adults walking around the city chasing after Pokemon. It's endlessly entertaining and kind of touching in the case of whole families out together after charzard. It probably hasn't reached Brasil yet but when it does, oh boy:)

We are in full Europe planning mode and this week paid our first full month of rent. For at least the first month we will be staying with another couple in north Edinburgh. We rented their home through Air BnB, which saved us quite a bit of money on our short term stay as it includes utilities and doesn't require a large deposit. And we booked our apartment for when we arrive in Paris in a month and a half. Things are getting real!

I'm sure you've heard of the recent terror attack in Nice France. Interestingly enough Ammie and I were planning on spending a week there but decided just earlier this week, before the attack, that we'd rather go to Barcelona and adjusted our plans. The world is indeed in commotion, as the scriptures say, with wars and rumors of wars. Luckily we've been blessed so far to live apart from many of these atrocities, but make no mistake about it, they are coming ever closer. The only true refuge we can run to is that of the gospel.

Thursday we received the sad news that AnneMarie's grandfather had passed away after battling Alzheimer's for the last 10 years. Tomorrow we will be heading up to Utah for his funeral. I'm grateful I had multiple opportunities to meet and get to know him before his passing.

We were both feeling pretty emotionally drained after a long week yesterday so we treated ourselves to a nice long date night. AnneMarie's parents sent her a gift card to an Italian restaurant and to Coldstone, so last night we went to Buca Di Bepo for some Italian eats. When you find your main squeeze let me recommend you bring her here sometime. Dishes only come in two sizes--large and monster large, or as they say, small and large. Small feeds two to three people and large feeds 5-6! We're talking monster portions:) plus they take pictures and give you a postcard on your way out which is a nice touch. After dinner we headed to the temple to do initiatory work. That was and is the right place to be. We were afforded lots of time to reflect and the spirit was present in abundance. The veil was thin. The temple is certainly a place of refuge from the toils and troubles of the world. Of course we snagged some ice cream after and got excited for the upcoming olympics by watching the women's gymnastics trials.
Work hard, pray hard.


Tanner and AnneMarie

P.S. Only about a year left now! Everyday counts!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Letter #48

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers! Pres. Young called this morning to let me know I´ll be going to Itaperuna. It´s another branch, and is also in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It´s a couple hours north, near the border of ES-RJ.

Went to the dentist, was painful, but he said now, everything should be good. He said come back in a week just to make sure I had everything cleaned off, and so went back today and he went at it again. Thank you for all your prayers. All in all, it went very well, and I hope that this really is the end of it. (He also said NOT to use the retainer the ortho gave me after taking off my braces, as this has been a large part of why it has been a recurring problem) Finally, I have no pain, and as everything seems better. Lighter steps, brighter skies, and a more beautiful Brasil.

This week, weve had some cool experiences. My favorite, was on Saturday. As missionaries, we´re in the business of helping people change. One person that we've known here for a while, José Carlos, is always complaining and asking for help but doesn't want to change. He works at a little store, and we always pass him on the street. He´s known missionaries for years and just likes a listening ear. Well, this week we challenged him to something new. To let us cut his hair and give him a shave. E. Cavalcante even offered to cut his nails. To become a new person sometimes you have to change appearance. He accepted, but unfortunately wimped out at the end. But his friend, Abidu, who takes better care of himself asked us excitedly if we could cut his hair. Well, you just can´t turn that down. We brought my kit to his house and he caught me by surprise by saying `just scissors please` when I had been planning to give a quick `ready for boot camp buzz cut.` And, I´m used to buzzer. Never used scissors. Right at the start, I cut it bad, and left a gaping hole above his ear. I wanted to laugh so hard but kept it in and just kept going. Note to others: I don´t have a natural talent for cutting hair. In short, it was wonderfully hilarious, I enjoyed it immensely and have sent the unforgettable photos.

Quissamã has been wonderful. Yesterday, Priscilla was called as the Gospel Principals Teacher in the branch, and is preparing to receive her patriarchal blessing and go to the temple. And a couple people have been reactivated, coming back to the church. Some of the members here are people I´ll never forget. My part in the english class has ended. Its been a memorable run and I´ve learned a lot about how to teach in this capacity. Saturday, some of the students brought cake in anticipation of my departure.

Last Monday, at night, we were walking in the streets when a man came up to us and introduced himself. Fabio, was baptized 9 years ago in Vitoria but after a while left the church. Started drinking and recently had lost everything, house, car, wife, job. Basically reached the bottom. He had arrived in Quissamã the week before as he had been able to find a job nearby. That night, we helped him in a circumstance I´ll never forget, find some cardboard boxes and take them to his apartment to sleep on. He cried as he related his story. Throughout the week, the members have helped him a lot with a mattress, stove, etc. and he seems to have a real desire to change. Yesterday he arrived way early in the church and is trying to help others as well.

And about the contacts, I am using them right now (: I don´t think the number was right, they were both -5.5. Regardless, I am enjoying them immensely. Yesterday at church, many people commented that it was like I was a different missionary. So, I´d love to have some (: And about the glasses, I don´t really know. It would be ideal if they could ship the lenses here because its 90 reais to ship.  But, if you think its worth it, I´ll send them. And thanks for the present from my grandparents. I haven´t had to use my card yet, but think i will this week to pick up my box.

I love you all!!!!

Elder Schenewark

Sunday, July 17, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

We love you! Isn't that how you want every letter to begin? And end? I was pregnant with you during President Howard's eleven month tenure as President and Prophet of the Church. He passed away in May, and you were born in July I loved his emphasis on the temple. The temple and its blessings should be the foundation of our lives. When Howard W. Hunter made his first public statement as President of the Church, one of his primary messages was for members to seek the blessings of the temple with greater devotion.“Earlier this month I began my ministry by expressing a deep desire to have more and more Church members become temple worthy. Having worthy and endowed members is the key to building the kingdom in all the world. Temple worthiness ensures that our lives are in harmony with the will of the Lord, and we are attuned to receive His guidance in our lives.” Hence, your namesake and the child that would always remind us of the importance of the temple.

I'm still waiting for you to answer the contact / glasses question I've asked the last few weeks. Now the eye glass center is asking. Any thoughts? And, we hope your gums are doing better. Our advice is consistent: Stay away from fruit, fruit smoothies, give your gums a rest.

Your grandmother wanted to gift you with money as her way of showing you how much she loves you as well. We'll deposit iit in your Wells Fargo account.

Larry and Sandy send their love as well. They love your stories, especially the ones that put goose bumps on their arms, like two weeks ago.

It's been hot here all week. How hot? High enough to melt crayons. Breyer's Sunday supply, as we found out in church today, were all melted together. Your sister makes me smile. Every day. I always try to remind her to pack her purse for church, today she did this on her own. And when she passed it off on her way to class, I saw what she had packed: A large multi-tool. Such a princess!

Your father interviewed Cooper today for advancement to the office of Priest. He is 16. Porter will be next. Speaking of Porter, he found a little out about his BYU roommate: He's a fan of Japanese anime. We had a funny talk, in Sunday School of all places, about being friends with everybody!

Sawyer's caught a few fish this week restarting the fishing campaign. They, meaning Dad and Sawyer, try sometimes first thing in the morning, or when the sun starts to set. He had me drive him up once this week, and I was witness to him casting, and his pole cracking, and the whole reel landing in the lake. He was so sad. He said it was like throwing Larry in the lake, as he had given him the pole.

Today is National Ice Cream Day, designated to take place on the third Sunday in July by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Sundaes are a great thing to have on Sunday. I might have to give some thought to making this somewhat of a tradition!

Your brothers have spent the whole week making airplanes. Lots of foam boards, xacto knives and hot glue sticks. They're impressive. Cooper's been doing this for a while, but progressed to the point where he has found plans on line, and recreates the plane at home. Now Sawyer and Miller are yielding the knives, and my living room is like an airport hanger. I wouldn't have it any other way. I think their advanced plans now include cameras and remote controls.

I hope your week is wonderful! We're waiting to see if you'll be transferred. It would be exciting to go to another area, but they will dearly miss you. As do I. Be good, stay safe!



Friday, July 15, 2016