Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Words for the Wingmen - In a Pictorial Way


Unbelievably, that's not snow, it's frost!

Commando Monument

Cairn building

Eilean Donan Castle

Neist Point

We saw lot's of this. Hint: not chocolate covered raisins

On Ewan's (McLeod) Castle

Local Pollock fishermen

The bridge dividing the land of the MacDonalds and McLeods

Cutie Pie

The Cullin Mountains

Scottish Thistle

No monster.

AnneMarie fed the wild deer!

Hairy "coos"

You might recognize Doune castle from Monty Python. They launched animals from these battlements.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Letter #67

Dear Family and Friends,

It took about two days to settle in here, but since then its been great. First, our area is fantastic. Its nice to  be back in a ward. And this ward is missionary minded! I think we've already received more referrals in this one week than in the rest of my mission combined. And we´re working on marrying three couples. We were with one couple yesterday, talking about marriage and the conversation went something like this: E. Brito ´´Would you marry her?´´ Husband; ´nods head.´ E. Brito ´´Wow!!! That sounds like a proposal! Do you accept?´´ Wife; ´nods head´

My companion Elder Brito is from São Paulo. He left Quissamã when I arrived, and has been zone leader here for two transfers so I've gotten to know him a bit. He was baptized at age 12, with his two older brothers. All three stayed active, and served missions. His mother was baptized just a couple months ago. She gained a testimony in part because Elder Brito finished the Duty to God program and for every section reported to his mom about what he did. While resisting for years, she now is an active member of the Church with a calling and everything. I really like him and he has helped me a lot already. Very spiritual. This will be a wonderful transfer.

Being essentially isolated for the last five transfers, I've been a little out of the loop about what´s been happening here. We met with the stake president on Saturday and it was definitely a needed meeting. He teaches fighting, and you don´t want to be on his wrong side! Already this week, we've had two relatively major problems that have had to be resolved and this hasgiven me a look at how hard it can be to be a leader. When Pres. Young called me last week, he said, teach about obedience every opportunity you have. So we have, and I feel like the ambiance of the zone is already changing.

Thursday, we´re heading to Vitoria, Saturday is our zone conference, and this weekend is Stake conference. It´s going to be busy here!

Always be obedient! Love,

Elder Schenewark

Monday, November 28, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, his brothers, and friends.

I am touched thinking about you and four of your cousins all serving missions at the same time. What a blessing for our family, what a tribute to your grandparents and the parents. What a blessing it is to be a member of this Church. Our Savior knows grand things including miracles happen on missions, and the high standard set to qualify to serve a mission only blesses the missionaries and their families for the eternities.

Mitt Romney was tagged as a possible candidate for Trump’s Secretary of State. Speculations were abounding at the beginning of the week, when he was seen leaving a meeting but no news as of yet has come forth.

Dad and Sawyer continue to fish almost every evening. Because the sun goes down so early, their excursions might be for only 20 minutes, but it’s a hobby they both enjoy and can enjoy together.

Last night I asked Cooper to make pizza on naan, Indian flat bread, for dinner today. I came home to cinnamon bagels,with raisins, pizza bagels, and they're all gone. Cracks me up. I can't believe everybody ate them. Too funny! Dad tried one, but couldn't get over pizza sauce with cinnamon. 

We had a lovely Thanksgiving mini vacation in Tyler. I didn't realize how refreshing it was to get away. We left Wednesday after work, and got there before ten p.m. Thursday  morning I ran with your aunt and Dad in a turkey trot, fundraising to help sex trafficking victims in Tyler. It could be a great new tradition. It was a beautiful fall day.. Okay, a tradition if the weather is nice. Your aunt is in shape. She almost won her age division. I ran-walked, and Dad walked. But we all finished and medaled. Next time I need a camera. The turkey costumes were funny.

Your aunt and Sawyer went fishing, once Thursday evening and once Friday morning. Sawyer caught fish both times. Of course. After your aunt borrowed a lure she caught a fish on Friday. Good times!

Thursday morning I also helped make pumpkin and apple pies, rolls and stuffing. Your aunt did the rest. It was delicious! We ate those leftovers later that day, and again for lunch on Friday. Even missing three boys, the leftovers went fast. I know there were a few ping pong games, of which you were remembered for, and of which Miller played the most. Be prepared for the new table. It's sweet. Dad threw the football with the boys, talked politics, and played games. Sawyer was given a rip board by your cousin, a skate board with the middle squeezed, that he still continue to enjoy. Breyer spent her time with the dogs, a lot. We always laugh about what the dogs think when she leaves. "Oh good." She also got girl jump time, and doll time, and a new bottle of monster spray. I got our traditional hike. Loved it. We also played sand volleyball, my new favorite tradition that needs to be.  Even if I got hit in the face, left with a purple thumb joint, found sand in my ears two days later, or could barely move the next day. It felt good to serve, bump, dink, dig, sprawl in the beautiful Texas fall weather. We vacated said premises Friday evening, and are all missing said family. Your West Point graduate-to-be found out he'll be working the inauguration detail in January. Your UT Dallas cousin has straight A's, and almost close to passing Porter in number of dates. Your UT Tyler cousin is enrolled in the number one nursing program in the state and succeeding. Life's great in Tyler

Porter was going to go home with a friend for Thanksgiving, and then chickened out at the last minute, felt awkward about contacting Ben, and spent Thursday eating a bowl of cereal. Made me sad! He also got to cook a lot of chicken in Heritage Halls.

That's the wrap up. It was a good week, weekend, holiday. It's a good life. It's the 70th anniversary of It's A Wonderful Life. It is indeed a wonderful life. So glad you're a part of mine.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Letter of Love

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 Zone Leader Lead in the Campos Zone. 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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bad Bass Boy

Even in a new location,
tried and true methods, and lures, work.

Friday, November 25, 2016


There's something to be said for traditions. I've come to the conclusion it's not Thanksgiving Day, or week, or weekend that makes me happy, it's the things we've come to do over the years. The traditions that make me feel grounded, loved, remembered.

I love our yearly hike to the bamboo forest. Perhaps after such large eating, hiking just feels good, but the beautiful Texas fall weather is a factor, the air with a hint of cold and the sunshine with a hint of warm. The turkey dinner leftovers wafting through the air with a touch of wood smoke. And the hikers,eager to get on the move.

Every year the bamboo expands, encroaches, spreads. Just like family. The little kids are just a little bit bigger, the big kids more bigger and mature, and the continuity of family increasing with births and marriages,

I missed my three boys. I missed their appetites, their ooohs and aaahs over my cooking, their eagerness to dive back into the leftovers, their jokes, hugs and spirit. But I know they're still a part of my forest. We're just spread out a bit this year

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Well, this was a slower week, which was good because nothing could have topped my birthday weekend a couple of days before. There were several highlights, however, including being quoted in the Washington Post. Let me explain:

At the end of last week, Toblerone, the iconic chocolate bar, announced it would be changing its shape in order to lighten it. My boss joked that we ought to write a motion noting that, as Toblerone had blamed the fall of the pound, the change of shape was a result of Brexit and portended less-innocent changes still to come. I volunteered to write it though I don't think he thought I'd follow through. But I did, and the motion was submitted to the Parliament on Tuesday of this past week.

A note here on parliamentary motions: 100 of these pass through my inbox every day. They usually sound like this: "Congratulations to the something of somewhere for something." Were talking spelling bees and funeral homes ten year anniversaries. The news coverage they get is zilch, zero, nada. Writing a tongue in cheek motion, albeit with a serious subtext, is not disrespectful to the political system. At least not in this Americans eyes.

Within five minutes of being submitted, my motion was picked up by a local news service, not long after it was picked up by opposing party leaders, and then the BBC got wind. Within an hour or two we were on the front page of the BBC and every major newspaper in the U.K. from Scotland to Ireland and England. By the night we'd been picked up in Brazil, Hungary, Scandinavia, and the Washington post. Articles were generally on the harsh side. Oh well. Colin my MSP took it with grace. He's still getting calls for comment and I'm stuck replying to those that emailed in angry at this waste of their taxpayer money. Deep down I just wanted to tell them, "Look, this was written by an unpaid intern, the same one who is now replying back to you!" I didn't though, and learned a lot about politics at the same time. Today my boss brought me in one of the new Toblerone bars.

The other big event of this last week was a trip to Glasgow. We were specially invited to attend the Scottish Family Values Award ceremony at the Hilton in Glasgow. It was a fun and posh affair, with a three course meal LDS style, aka, no coffee or alcohol. Even better. We met mingled, and listened to a host of interesting people, members and non members alike, statesmen, general authorities, heads of charities, and mission presidents. We'd taken the bus there, which had showed up half an hour late forcing us to grab an uber from the bus station to the hotel. Luckily everyone else was running behind and we arrived in the nick of time. On our way out though we managed to hitch a ride with president and sister Donaldson presidents of the Scotland Ireland mission. We enjoyed a delightful time riding home with them and AnneMarie has even taken them up on their offer to help in the mission office! It took me back to all my trips with president and sister genaro, crisscrossing Brazil. Good times!

Two charities were awarded for their work, one was the sponsor of the singing children of Africa whom we had seen earlier. Generally the award was not given to members in order to encourage an interfaith exchange however the founder of that award was a member and she gave an inspiring speech. A mighty rousing speech too I might add for an eighty year old women! The APs from the mission were there and one was formerly in an LDS boy band called Beyond Five, I think, and he sang two musical numbers beautifully, as well as two numbers from the teachers of the singing children.

Okay, that's the deal, the rundown, the gig. Big week coming up this week so stay tuned right here. We've only got three weeks left. Time flies right on by us here! But we can't wait to come home and visit with family, in person or over Skype.

All our love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Monday, November 21, 2016

Letter #66

Dear Family and Friends,

This was quite the week. Sometimes as missionaries we are looking for the immediate harvest. This week I was able to see the guiding hand of the Lord in my life. On Tuesday, as we were returning from Vitória, we had about three hours until the next bus. I was dead tired, and just wanting some alone time to think and read the scriptures while waiting, but thought, no, this isn't my time to use, it is the Lord´s time. Thankfully, the bus company has an air-conditioned waiting room, and it was there that I struck up a conversation with the chap to my side. 

We actually ended up conversing with him in English for two hours. It was a miracle. He had studied in the United States, is very smart and currently works for Petrobras offshore here. Turns out he is looking for answers, has already studied the Bible extensively and was certified to be something akin to associate pastor in the Baptist church. But, in his study of the Bible, including a comprehensive geneaology tree of everyone in the Bible, he was confused with many of the contradictory facts. Seeking more, he had already downloaded the church library app, but hadn't yet read the Book of Mormon. We had a wonderful, wonderful conversation. It was one of the best and coolest lessons I've taken part in. He had lots of questions, wants to know more, and I´m very excited to see what happens. Then, shortly after  my return here to Itaperuna, we were stopped by a woman in the street who asked us to visit her brother in the hospital. We dutifully took down the information necessary and went the next day. Turns out this patient, Pedro, had been in a coma for four days and wasn't looking like he´d be coming out. The rules were very strict, and I had to enter alone, dressing with a frock, washing hands, etc. So alone, I had the solemn yet very touching experience of first praying for help, and then giving a blessing to him. And with words that weren't my own, I blessed him to recover. All in all, just a wonderful week filled with many spiritual experiences. 

And, I learned that Priscilla, who was baptized a couple months ago in Quissama, will be making the 12 hour trip to go to the temple to do baptisms! She only earns minimum wage here, but has a great desire to go even before completing one year as a member! I was very happy to hear this!

Going to Vitoria was of course wonderful. Recognizing that I had never taken a picture with Pres. and Sis. Young, I took advantage of the opportunity and snapped a photo. The mission is definitely starting to take some steps moving more towards obedience. And to finish the training, we had a zone meeting Thursday to talk about everything that we learned. My training I will humbly admit, brought down the house. 

Also, yesterday I had one more opportunity to talk in sacrament meeting and chose to speak about the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost. And, channeling my inner Russell M. Nelson (see April 2003 conference), after finishing my talk, the other three missionaries and I sang ´´Let the Holy Spirit Guide.´´ Even though none of us can sing very well, it turned out really good. It was the first musical number I've heard in one year here, and we showed up with matching ties. Long story short, we had decided to make ties for the district six weeks ago. Bought the material, and coordinated with a seamstress to make them. But, after waiting six weeks, she hadn't even started so we took the material back, and I decided to just do it myself. And it was a lot easier than I thought. 

And finally today, I received the expected news that I will be transferred. However, it was quite a shock as Pres. Young called to say I will be a zone leader. I will stay in this same zone, going to Campos. And in another shock, I will be the senior companion of the pair. I was honestly surprised, and might be the first zone leader to have never conducted an interview for baptism. And in other news, I will have the honor of reaching nine months in the same zone, and attending both stake conferences for the year here. Well, that's it. I admit, I am feeling a little overwhelmed with this, but I've learned and I know that this is the Lord´s work and He is at the helm. We just have to do our best and he´ll take care of the rest.


Elder Schenewark
Enjoy the view.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, my other big boys, et al,

This day heralds the week of Thanksgiving, one of our more important holiday that truthfully deserves more than one day. Hence, the week of Thanksgiving. Originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the harvest, I will now give thanks for my harvest: Six boys, which were created,grown, and three which have been plucked. I love your independence, intelligence, and integrity. I couldn't be prouder of my crop, and will someday see the cycle perpetuated. Your fruitful members of our society, and I could not be happier with your decisions and accomplishments.

In the news this week New Zealand's 7.8 magnitude earthquake last Monday devastated parts of the coastline north of Kaikoura, on the country's South Island.

Elder Orton's days and nights are getting colder. He's down to minutes of sunlight each day. With tough conditions he absolutely is LOVING Barrow and feels blessed to be serving the people there.

Your Facebook friend sent me this photo of you:

My favorite quote of the week? Golfer Bobby Jones: "Competitive golf is played mainly on a five and a half inch course - the space between your ears."

Your siblings have sent some love notes to you this week:

Dear Hunter,

I love you because you play golf with and always write me letters. I also love you because you played chess with me, and because you're my brother.  Love, Sawyer

Dear Hunter,

You take me golfing, and taught me how to play chess good. You're nice. You gave me a good challenge. I'm on chapter 30 of  3rd Nephi. Love, Miller

Miller's thoughts remind me of a quote from General Conference: "Whether our testimony of the Book of Mormon comes the first time we open it or over a period of time, it will influence us all of our days if we continue to read it and apply its teachings." This promise is from Elder LeGrand Curtis. A promise from President Marion G. Romney, formerly a counselor in the First Presidency:

I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. … The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.

Thank you for issuing Miller the challenge.

Dear Hunter,

I love you because you play with me, you tickle me, you're kind, you're gentle. You make me laugh. You cared for me a lot. You really, really love me. And you're really nice to me. Love, Breyer

Tonight after saying dinner prayer, Breyer said, "Mom, some voice in my  head said, "Good job! I think it was the Holy Ghost." So I asked, "Why do you think you got a good job?" "Because I was being reverent during the prayer for once." She's so sweet.

Dear Hunter,

You drove me places and did stuff with me. You are always happy. We like the same things as me."
Love, Cooper

Your siblings have the whole week off. We'll be traveling to Tyler to see your cousins Wednesday, thankful to be able to share Thanksgiving dinner with family. Miller's already packed. Without being asked. He's very excited to venture out of Granbury. Miller's end of the season soccer tournament was yesterday. He played three games, winning none,but did a great job in the 37, then 46, then 55 degree weather. I shivered on the sidelines. He says he's not going to play again, but I think he'll come around next fall. He misses baseball.

Sawyer had his first middle school basketball game. He was the only player to not be taken out. He probably scored 10 out of the winning score of 35-19. He's playing under the basket, but is the third tallest. It was obvious he stayed because he is the leader of the team, as well as his sweet spin to the basket move he's perfected for the put back. He'll be fun to watch.

Cooper brought home his spring tennis schedule, games beginning the first of January. He still creates airplanes but has moved from foam to drawing them with an architectural flair of grids and rulers.

Porter is thriving. He finally shared a few pictures. Thought of you and your dance class adventures when I saw this picture. He's definitely participating in intramural extracurricular teams, but I don't believe you did ultimate frisbee.

Dad, Sawyer and Cooper traveled to the Dallas temple yesterday. I'll let him tell you about that himself.

That's the week. In a quick wrap. We love you. I hope you feel our love. And Thanksgiving.