Friday, September 22, 2017

Rio de Janeiro to Campinas


I won't be able to email until next Monday, but I do need to let yous guys know that I've arrived in the field, safe and sound. My companion is Elder Santos, I'll meet him tonight. I'm getting tossed right in, first area is hitting the favelas. Should be fun. And awesome. Love you all, talk to you in just under a week.


Elder Sketchy Area

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What a Ball!

You can't tell by these pictures,
but the final score was 39-2.
The green team.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

College Correspondent

Coming to you one day late,

Uncle Aaron was at the BYU game. He chose the wrong year to attend. It was nevertheless nice to see Anna and him there. I do hope he appreciates my leniency. He came in not once, but twice before we officially let people in. To put that into perspective, and how seriously I take my gatekeeping responsibilities, later this guy with his family comes over. He asks to go in, as he is needed at the media tent.
"Okay, where's your pass?"
"We weren't given any." (Then shows me their tickets,)
"We start taking tickets at 12."
"You don't understand, I am Luke Staley."
"Nice to meet you." (If I had really been quick, I would have said, "I am Groot!")
"I need to go in, they're retiring my number today!"
Of course, once that card is played, its out of my league. He went by with his family. And I admittedly felt bad for not knowing who he was, nor that he was being honored  this game.

 I recieved my calling: Family History Specialist! Never will a YSA have done so much family history after this...........

I went again to the temple Friday, but am now committed to bringing family names from here on out. Tanner and AnneMarie then came over where we three along with a ward friend shared an apple pie.

We spent Sunday evening with the fam, TanMarie taking me over to Uncle Ben and Aunt Joy's where we feasted on delicious pasta and then played sushi-go. Not seeing dessert, Uncle Aaron impressively whipped up some delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Not in the highlight reel: this week, I was rejected for a date. Surprised, I nevertheless decided to put into action my own field of dreams and acquired tickets for BYU's "Instrumental Showcase" next Tuesday, the 26th. If you have tickets, a date will come.

My job at GPS Capital Markets started on Wednesday, and I took the train up Wednesday and Friday for half-day training. So far, I've learned way more than I could have imagined, even receiving a nice econ refresher. Today started the carpool for me, so it was a full day, us leaving at 6:30 and returning at 4:00. We had the areas of Georgia, North Carolina, and Chicago to choose from. The other two interns flipped a coin for Chicago, but for me I was set on N. Carolina. Wednesday we start our work, and I am excited!

After returning, I called Mom, who after hearing my plans for the rest of the night, urged me to go to FHE. I did not want to. I was looking forward to a workout, then a relaxing evening. I headed to BYU for this purpose; I practiced playing the organ, but on my way to the gym, felt compelled to turn around and go to FHE. Its so easy to leave behind lessons learned  on the mission. It was easier then to be obedient, as I was 100% committed. Knowing that that is what brings miracles, I figured being obedient, and 100% committed now will also bring miracles. So, it was off to FHE.  And I think my biceps grew a little just for that sacrifice. But if they didn't, thats ok too. Of course it helps to remember that David Bednar met his wife at FHE at BYU. (And talking about Apostle courtship trivia, do you know which one married a cougarette?)

Love ya,

Hunter Schenewark

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Class!

Cooper's favorite high school class:
Building an experimental airplane.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mormon Helping Hands

Cooper left early Saturday morning for Sour Lake,
a residential community in Houston,
for flood debris removal.
Wall boards, carpet, pads, furniture, appliances...

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited with government officials and ministered to local Mormons and residents in the Caribbean Friday, September 15, 2017, in the wake of destructive Hurricane Irma, which battered the islands a week ago

“I was with some people [today] who lost a great deal,” he said. “I looked in their eyes and I could see that these apparently ordinary people were on the rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. They saw the light even in the darkness. And so, things for them will work out. Whatever it takes, they will rebuild. And they will not just rebuild their houses and their businesses. What they will build is a love of the Lord Jesus Christ and a feeling that no matter what comes, they will feel cheerful and confident."

Sunday morning church services

Workers from the New York Fire Department joined his group

DESERET NEWS Sept. 9-10 marked the beginning of the anticipated influx of Church volunteers to Houston from areas not affected by flooding. Hurricane Harvey, possibly the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, had a large impact on much of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Harvey actually created two floods for many residents. The torrential rain inundated many homes with up to 50 inches falling in a three to four-day time span. Shortly after, the massive amounts of runoff flowing into area rivers and reservoirs caused even more damage as they overflowed their banks.

The Church structure, however, allows quick response on the part of local units. According to Elder J. Devn Cornish, a General Authority Seventy on the scene, “By the time headquarters could make contact with people, they were well into the process of ministering and rescuing and recovering.”

Over the weekend of Sept. 9-10, large scale recovery efforts organized by stakes in Austin and Dallas headed to Houston. Additionally, stakes from San Antonio went to Corpus Christi and others from Southern Louisiana traveled to the Beaumont area.

Approximately 1,300 volunteers came from 5 stakes in Austin and an additional 2,300 came from the Dallas area to work in Houston. These combined with the local Houston area members already engaged in clean-up work totaled approximately 10,000 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers in service in one weekend. Houston Church members have been working continuously to alleviate local needs since the flood took place.

The City of Houston is no stranger to the work of Mormon Helping Hands. In 2015, Church members rendered such valuable service to the community that then-mayor Annise Parker proclaimed June 24 as Mormon Helping Hands Day in the City of Houston.

Typically, out-of-town volunteers leave their homes early Saturday morning and upon arrival immediately go to work for the remainder of the day. They eat, sleep, have a brief sacrament meeting Sunday morning in their work clothes, go back to work and later in the afternoon return to their homes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Letter #6

Hello, my beautiful wonderful glorious family and friends,

Why, you may be wondering am I this excited? Because stuff happened. Stuff went down in Brazil this week.

The most recent first

1- Baptizing in a bathtub
It´s no secret that Brazilians are rather small people. I am a rather large person. Went to baptize a fellow elder in the temple this week, Elder Johnson hi, who is 6´6´´. How´d it go down? Rough. We walk in. The water is literally scraping our knee caps. Instead of the normal dunking, it ended up being something along the lines of, he lays down horizontal, I push his body down under the water, and then have to drag him out. The font was also stainless steel which led to some slipping around. The font in the Sao Paulo temple is probably the prettiest I've seen.

2- Pineapples
Everyone who I have any sort of inside joke with, somehow it ends up being about a pineapple. The district thought they would be funny this week, and stole the pineapple that I took from lunch. Why am I so angry, it´s just pineapple? Don´t say that until you´ve had Brazilian pineapple. I´m now on a one on one loving revenge game with the instigator. Love you Elder Clifford.

3- Lula Molusca
Another well known fact, I don´t have cartalage in my nose. This coupled with the natives love for Spongebob, or Bob Sponja as he´s known here, led to my teacher giving my the nickname Lula Malusca, which means squidward. Now, that´s all he calls me. He thinks it´s hilarious, the district laughs, I´m too busy learning to care.

4- Jehovah´s Witness
Little gross but it happened. Apparently the Jehovah´s Witness peoples hate us. Elder Webster and I passed some on the street, some angry Portuguese words we didn't understand were thrown at us so we just smiled and kept walking. Felt something hit my shirt, didn't look back, didn't acknowledge it. What t'was it? I´ll tell you what it t'was. T'was a massive, thick, slimy, very, very, very yellow luuuuugggie. Smile and wave boys.

This was probably the best experience I've in Brazil so far. I loved it. The second time proselyting went so much better (also a little worse, see #6). We met and talked to, in Portuguese yuh, with quite a handful of natives who understood what we were saying and we got most of what they said as well.

6- The weekly crazy experience that somehow only seems to happen to Elder Webster and I
This is a good one. Most people go their whole missions without an experience like this. We were proselyting and this man, clearly homeless grabbed Elder Webster by the shoulder and started talking. He was so nice, and honestly such a great person to talk to, if not a little scary to talk to. We probably spent a good half hour talking to him and he told us he´d met missionaries earlier in his life but never went to church with them. He´s going on Sunday by the way, we hope. This is where the real crazy begins though.

I don´t actually know how bad this is just reading it, but we lived it so enjoy. While we´re talking to this man, there is another homeless man, this one a little crazy about ten feet away. At random points, he would run up, slander us up a little, and the take off, so we were not paying him tooo much attention. The man would wave him off and then we´d go back to talking. Anyways, after a pause in the insults, he stood about ten feet behind the man, so only we could see him. And he ripped off his shirt. And then his pants. Leaving us with a pair of grey briefs with what I can only hope was a lincoln log sticking out of the back.
And then those came off too.
And then he did a little dance for us.
Front and back.
And front again.
Welcome to Brazil

BBBUUUTTT, I would like to say, that though all this, while we´re teaching a man who´s appearance had prevented other missionaries from stopping, with a fully naked man dancing in the background,
the spirit was there. In a language that we don´t speak very well, watching what can only be described as horrifying, Elder Webster and I were able to talk with a man who very clearly needed the gospel, and very clearly wanted it. The Holy Ghost was standing there, I can say without a doubt, looking over us and helping us help this man.

That about wraps it up, I love yous guys and am excited for next week. By the way, we go into the field on Tuesday so I´ll be able to send pictures next time I think.


Elder Lula

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

I'm so, so sorry you had no letter from me last week. It was never sent. I'm not use to your Friday day. I work on it Sunday, and think, "I have a few more days to add to it," and then forgot. Please forgive me. I know you had other mail in your email, as well as a blog post or two. I'll be glad when your preparation day is back to Monday!

Probably the most exciting news of last week was your cousin's mission call. Megan's leaving December 20th for the Provo MTC to serve in the Nicaragua Managua North mission for 18 months!!

The next biggest news is Hurricane Harvey. I mentioned Harvey hitting Houston as a category 4 hurricane. And because Harvey refused to rotate out of the area,hovering instead over Houston for a LONG time, There was a massive evacuation, with our area receiving over 4,000. Seventeen C-130 planes are taking 100 people at a time, on 45-minute rotations. It's an operation that began Thursday and continues into the weekend. These are residents who have lost everything and were staying at shelters. The planes are landing at Dallas Love Field, then bused to a mega-shelter in Dallas. We had deputies escorting the buses from the plane to the convention center.

I love reading headlines, like "I Knew the Mormons Would Come": LDS Missionaries Begin Cleanup Work in Houston after Hurricane, Floods. Or, the Cajun Navy who are captivating social media. "The country is suddenly grateful for this “Cajun Navy,” for their know-how, for the fact that they can read a submerged log in the water, and haul their boats over tree stumps and levees and launch them from freeway junctions. “They can handle their boats better than the average fireman, who handles a boat once a year during annual training."

With floods in India and Northern India, raging fires in Montana and Los Angeles, and  a massive earthquake in Mexico, the world is in turmoil. Now this week it's Hurricane Irma, Florida, especially the Keys, and the Caribbean islands.

Your cousin Stevie and her new Snow College Badger team

(One of these things is not like the others...)

I copied a portion of an email from Tanner, that he might or might not be writing about this week, but it was too good not to share!

"Haven't settled on a name yet and probably won't say anything's final until she's here and we can look her in her big baby (blue) eyes :)

AnneMarie's only got a couple more weeks at work. I think she's done the 29th though that could be wrong. She loves putting her quarters in and will probably spend the rest of her free time trying to get everything ready. We still haven't figured out what we're going to do for the blessing, probably because we're still trying to figure out the baby shower :)

I'm working on a letter with more details but I've been busy getting back in shape a la Aunt Becky style at a crossfit gym. Also studying nightly for the LSAT and getting application materials ready. Wakin' up early and goin' to bed late seems to be the schedule right now, but life's good and we're happy to have Hunter and cousins Abbey and Stevie out here with us."

Invitations to the baby shower went out this week. I'm sad I won't be there. But, I sent a really BIG present: A crib. They registered on Amazon and Target, and made shopping super easy. I hope to make this a grandmother tradition.

Breyer misses you. One day she wanted my help in finding an outfit to match her Wonder Woman socks you gave her. Another night she fell asleep crying about you. She started soccer. I was sleeping during her first game, but hopefully her schedule will allow me to go to a game or two.

Miller began as well. He had enough baseball over the summer not to do fall ball and was excited to start soccer. His coach was an assistant last year and feels like he won the lottery with Miller on his team. He did. He's very versatile. He doesn't have the fancy Hispanic moves most of the players
have, but he has his own. One day I looked out my window, and saw him helping a neighborhood boy who had walked over with his homework. Very sweet. He knew Miller was smart, and that he would help.

We had no school on Labor Day, so I took Sawyer and Miller to golf. It was crowded. At one point a lone player was close so we pulled over for him to pass. He drove to Sawyer's ball and played it, then drove off into the woods and picked up his errant shot. Really? Another man was close but we didn't notice him behind us, and he drove, the ball whizzing by my body. Too close. I don't think I'll ever take them again on a holiday or Saturday. Breyer's wish was to go to the beach, so she and I had some sand time after dinner. She does love the water. I don't mind. It's a lovely beach.

Cooper's record is now 5-0. Apparently the pre season team is the team to beat, and everybody else has a tennis program sub par. He is so tall, compared to many of the boys, and when he's on the net, he's intimidating. Plus he has your father's wide wing span, and nothing gets by. I love watching him put a smack down on a ball. We've stalled with his Eagle Scout project in that the two men who are responsible for donations are hard for him to contact since school has begun.

We put new tires on the Prius. And my low air light still comes on. I guess we'll have to change at least one more.

Dad wrote a note to Sis. Young, and this portion explains a bit of our life, including you, as well:

"We are doing well. Our town and the surrounding area felt no ill effects from the Hurricane. In fact as the Hurricane was over the Houston area, we had the most pleasant weather of all summer. We had very little rain and the humidity was low as a front came in from the Northwest.

"The way the hurricane has effected us, is that we have been asked to travel to Houston and help with the clean-up. The Area Seventy has asked for 3000 volunteers, from the Dallas-Fort Worth area stakes, each weekend of September to travel to Houston and help with the cleanup. So I have been helping with getting volunteers from our ward. The trip is about five hours away. On Saturdays, we are to leave at 5:00 A.M. , arrive at our site around and start cleaning, tearing out carpets, drywall, insulation, cutting of trees, hauling out appliances and furniture, and taking it all out the street. The church volunteers stay the night at a local high school, Sunday morning there is a brief sacrament meeting, and then you work until 3:00 or 4:00 o'clock and come back home.

"We worked a lot of floods in West Virginia. Virtually each year there would be 3-4 floods that we were asked to help with. Any disaster is sad, but in my opinion, floods are the worst. The home will never be the same, especially in a humid climate like Houston.

"Our stake has been assigned an area of East Houston, which I am sad to say should have been demolished before the flooding. It is a very very poor section of the city. From my understanding there will be work projects going on for months.

"We are doing well. Porter has been at the MTC in São Paulo for the past four weeks. I'm not quite sure about his adventures. He has saved two elders, while at the MTC, that went to the hospital (both the elders were from Brazil). It sounds like the food he eats of MTC is very Brazilian. Rice and beans are great, but I did not know about some of the mystery soups. Tanner went to the MTC in Brazil, but never talked about the food. I had just taken for granted the food would be like the MTC in Provo. Such a thought now makes no sense, since most of the missionaries are from Brazil (or at least South America) and they would eat food that they are accustomed to.

"Tanner and Anne Marie are still on track for a baby girl to arrive around Thanksgiving. I am not sure if we will be coming out to Utah. It would be nice for Amy Jo to travel out there, but she has been working with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department for the past months. Tanner and AnneMarie are scheduled to come out here at Christmas time."

Well, it's a bit long, but deserves to be after two weeks. Know how much we look forward to your letters. Are you finding the MTC a spiritual place? So much happens there, and so much to learn, it's a hard balancing act, I'm sure. Your letters are becoming legendary. Keep up the good work.

Come Back To Me.



Monday, September 11, 2017

College Correspondent

Monday, we (TanMarie and I) went to Uncle Ben's where we enjoyed delicious burgers, conversation and family in general. Footnote- that was my first time swimming since returning. I'll be back. And then, after being unable mentally (at least this week, it was quite the shock) to pay $1.50 just to dry clothes (after having washed them) I stayed at Tanmarie's house,using their dryer, where we played a sushi game which I liked. Even though I came in last.

I received a call Tuesday at about 10 am about a job interview. Asked whether today or tomorrow would work, I instinctively, or perhaps faithfully, replied, ''Today!'' At 3. So, I ran home, stuffed some clothes into my backpack, ate lunch, and was back at school for my final class, leaving immediately after at 1 to go to the train station. Why? So I can go first next time we play ticket to ride or Railroad tycoon. I pulled a batman, entering inconspicuously into the bathroom dressed as a gym going young man, and quickly left ready for Wall Street. One old lady who saw the transformation quipped, ''My, you look dapper!'' Hearts are breaking all across .... the 750 line to South Jordan.

The only downside? It is in South Jordan, a 1/2 hour commute. My interviewer told me that they want me, but are worried about how I would get there, so they said find a qualified friend who can drive, and we'll hire you both. Cousin Greg accepted; I re-arranged my school schedule to make it work, and he was interviewed and offered the job the next day. And decided to turn it down. Props to him for seeking revelation, but I'll admit, I was bummed. So, weighed a couple options (other job, buy a car, ride the train) before wisely deciding the best would be to re-arrange my schedule again to get in with an existing carpool. Pros?  A ride. The job. I have class only tuesday + thursday. Cons? I dropped my bible as literature class and portuguese.

Now that I've finally locked it in, here's my schedule: international ballroom; living prophets; world religions; germanic family history; math 116; organ performance; history 201; M Com 320 (business school)

Thursday night, I had a mission pal, Nate Gibby over and we both reminisced and looked to the future.

Friday, I was productive, trying to finish everything before heading to the temple at 4. And I went with a young woman, so I'll count that as a date. And we talked on the car ride going there and back, so it basically counts twice. Besides getting to know a very nice young lady, being in the House of the Lord was wonderful. That was my first time in the Provo City Center Temple.

I also decorated my room. Just hung up a couple pictures, but improved the ambiance, and not to boast, but I was definitely impressed with how it turned out. Pictures forthcoming.

Saturday, I saved my energy for what I knew what would be a long day, and spent most of the morning reading. At 3, I left for the BYU vs. Utah football game. The weather fortuitously stayed cool, and I helped keep the peace until game time at 8;21, when I ate some smoked brisket, and then took my customary spot on the field. It was another ugly game, and I am sure many fans are praying for a new BYU QB. I have been impressed with the defense though, even in the two losses. The fans wore me out too.

Today we had a regional conference with Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He spoke about Utah's history and HOV lanes (high occupancy vehicles) which get us to our destination quicker, safer, less stress. Or, spiritually speaking, HOV, humility, obedience, virtue. And our companion for the trip should be the Holy Spirit.

And tonight, we watched Elder Bednar's broadcast from North Carolina. Go Family History! He inspired me to strengthen the ''chain of the generations'' and talked about how these welding links are what fulfills the earth's purpose.

Lots of love,


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Worshiping More Fully and Making the Sabbath Day a Delight

The day after I was asked to speak, the stake president and his counselor were in the Granbury ward. As I returned to our pew, I found my youngest son nose deep in a coffee table sized book, with coffee table size pictures, entitled, "Top Winners in Golf." Tiger Woods' face was visible to all in the chapel who were looking our way. My son and I then became engaged in a tug-of-war over the book. And don't ask how I didn't notice the coffee table sized book going out the door.

In fact, while I was pondering my talk on the Sabbath Day, last Sunday, my two youngest boys were using clipboards and a ping pong ball in my living room for their across the room and off the walls ping pong game. And then I remembered that last Sunday it was a chipping and putting golf contest into my mixing bowls. So know this. I am not here because I or my family are perfect. But this is why we meet together on Sunday - to confess our sins, to grow, and to learn from and to love each other, despite our faults. And while I'm confessing sins, we were pulled over on the way to church today. And I wasn't driving.

Having an acre lot requires a lot of lawn mowing. And we moved here with a push mower. It usually takes me three days to finish the entire acre. People often ask why, having six sons, they aren't the ones mowing the grass. It's a strategy I use to work out some of life's problems. I don't look forward to the physical work of pushing the lawn mower up and down the hill, picking thorns out of my socks and shoes, or jumping over piles of fire ants. But every so often I need time away from life with seven children. And a loud mower, outside the home, far enough away from the back door, works wonders.

I've learned a few lawn mowing strategies over the years. Like using a clamp to open the lawn mower flap, allowing thick or wet grass to exit quicker before clumping underneath stops the motor. Recently, as it has been a very wet summer by Texas standards, I've learned that pulling the mower backwards, when the clamp isn't enough, will prevent the mower engine from dying in the long, thick, wet grass.

Our Heavenly Father has given us a few strategies to help us navigate our way through the unexpected, long, wet grass of life, some of the more well-known ones being the Ten Commandments. Surely if we don't kill, or lie, or steal, or commit adultery, our path through mortality will be one less troublesome. Have you pondered on what strategies might have been used to assist the Israelites in getting out of the wilderness?

When Moses was leading the children of Israel, if they had simply turned left, they were within 15 miles of Jerusalem. Instead, the prophet of God led them to the right, and they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. The key to understanding why they were led to wander is found in Deuteronomy 8:2:  “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”

We may grumble about all the things we feel like or know we should refrain from doing on the Sabbath Day. But deciding to keep the Sabbath day holy is the difference between turning left, or wandering to the right, and a strategy that will help us navigate our way through life.

I work for a law enforcement agency in Dallas County, and nights like last night, are the busiest hours of the week. The early morning hours of Sunday, midnight to four, when the least amount of people are awake, are when the most incident numbers per hour are generated. That Satan is the busiest on what we consider a holy day, the Lord’s day, is a telling factor in what Satan considers one of his best strategies.

Elder Groberg said, “As we keep the Sabbath day holy he will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good that we cannot obtain in any other way. There is power in keeping the Sabbath day holy—power to help others as well as ourselves. If we would have God’s blessings and protection as individuals, as families, as communities, and as nations, we must keep His Sabbath day holy.” And In light of Hurricane Harvey, now Irma, and an earthquake in Mexico, when you wonder how you can help, the Sabbath Day becomes a vital link to recovery.

Often, when we talk about the Sabbath Day, we'll say, "Keep the Sabbath Day Holy." That is not the commandment. Keeping the Sabbath day holy implies refraining from certain activities. In Exodus 20:8, it says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Remembering the Sabbath day means it is foremost in our minds.

Isaiah described the Sabbath as “a delight.” He also taught us how to make it delightful. He said, “…turn away from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight.”

I was asked to speak on worshiping more fully to make the Sabbath day a delight. What does it mean to worship more fully?

Worshipping more fully means to me doing all the things you should be doing so the Spirit can be in your life. It’s a lifestyle choice.

And why would worshipping more fully, “that we may always have His Spirit to be with us”, make the Sabbath day a delight?

Delight to me means a little bit of joy, and a little bit of wonder. Delight was listening to President Hinckley speak in General Conference. Delight is spring in Texas when the ground is covered with bluebonnets. Delight is when my husband brings me home flowers. And delight is when your six sons find out #7 is a sister.

Worshipping more fully to make the Sabbath day a delight then means always remembering to do those things to have the Spirit in our lives to make the Sabbath a day of joy and wonder. One of my strategies, is to teach my children about sacrifice.

Remembering the Sabbath day will teach us and our family to make small sacrifices for the Lord. Having six sons meant they sacrificed a lot of baseball tournaments, high school practices, and all star teams. They’ve given up birthday party invitations from their classmates, playing with neighborhood friends, and knowing who wins the Super Bowl until Monday morning.

Remember the Sabbath Day, and find delight in sacrifice.

We can remember the Sabbath day by making small sacrifices in serving others. President Henry B. Eyring said, “The Sabbath is also a perfect time to remember the covenant we made at the waters of baptism to love and serve Heavenly Father’s children.”

Concentrate on not what can’t be done on Sunday but instead, what do we want to do to remember the Sabbath?

Teach your children or spouse or friend or self to index. A former stake president of ours tied all youth activities to indexing. Watching my sons index names, every Sunday, softened their hearts to the plight of so many still waiting for temple ordinances. It was a delight to see their complaints become few and far in between while they were serving  in love for others.

Use your time to work on family history with the express purpose of sharing with them eternal ordinances in the temple. You’ll find delight, as did I, after looking for five years, by changing the spelling from Hill to Hall, when the spirit helps you to find your ancestors on a census,.

Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Make the Sabbath a delight by rendering service to others, especially those who are not feeling well or those who are lonely or in need. Lifting their spirits will lift yours as well.”  Home and visiting teaching, or being concerned for those not at church, becomes especially meaningful in this light.

Use your time to Write a missionary. Develop your talents. I  was delighted to learn that one of my sons serving in Brazil was the only piano player in his ward; another son, the only one in his ward and stake. Record sacred, funny, important life moments in a journal. For example:

Mr. Wilson was a not a member of our church, but his wife is, and she asked for a boy to help her with her lawn, as her husband is on oxygen for a lung disease. As I had to drive my son to his house, I chose not to sit in the car and wait, but help so we could be done quicker. The Wilsons have a large, beautiful yard. The plan was for my son to begin weed whipping, which I do not do, and I would start with mowing. Within two minutes of mowing I ran over Mr. Wilson’s 100 foot extension cord to the weed whipper my son was operating. It was painted green, and blended in with the long green grass. After a drive to replace my son’s source of power, I resumed mowing. Within a few minutes, after mowing around a corner of the house and over a bump in the yard, my lawn mower caught the corner of and proceeded to chew Mr. Wilson’s outdoor rug. Saying I was mortified doesn’t even come close. Obviously Mr. Wilson and I were destined to become good friends. I told him how these experiences we were having were excellent examples for my talk that Sunday. This experience didn’t happen on a Sunday, although we do try to plan our week on Sunday. And it was recorded in a journal on a Sunday. And I can use this experience today, in that while mowing I had been in unfamiliar territory, having no strategy, and choosing poorly my path around the yard. But my delight on the Sabbath continues to come when I read the recorded moment in my journal and remember. And my real delight came when Bro. Wilson remembered to show up in church to hear me speak. Our hearts were knit together in love over our shared experience of my damaging his property, and how he chose to respond to my inadequacies in the lawn business.

Remembering the Sabbath day, is like paying our tithing, or going to seminary. All are ways we can give a portion of ourselves to the Lord.

Elder Russell M. Nelson also said, “Think of this: In paying tithing, we return one-tenth of our increase to the Lord. In keeping the Sabbath holy, we reserve one day in seven as His. So it is our privilege to consecrate both money and time to Him who lends us life each day.”

These examples of service are all a small sacrifice for the Lord. If we can't make these small sacrifices for the Lord, how can we expect our children to sacrifice those things necessary to be temple worthy, or make the larger sacrifice for the Lord by going on a two year mission?

We received a letter from our eldest son Tanner, while on his mission, that said, “Last week we found a 75 year old lady, 75 years of being Catholic, while following up on one of her neighbors. While knocking on his door, she was staring at us rather curiously. At her baptism this week, she shared that while she was watching us knock on her neighbor’s door, we were shining. She said, “I saw a light illuminating from them, and knew that this light must be from God. I wanted to belong to God’s church and be a part of this light and feel the way it made me feel. They were like two angels across the street and now I have two angels in my house with me.” Tanner wrote, “These are the moments we live for, that we sleep on the floor for, eat rice and beans for, walk miles for and smell like African baboons for.”

As a mother, I add, these are the moments I live for, as no other reason would convince me to allow three of my sons to leave me for two years to live in Brazil. Delight came as I read his letter, but my real delight is in knowing that the small sacrifices my son made for the Sabbath helped him become the person I hoped he would become, and more.

Elder Groberg said, “Does the Lord love and bless those who keep the Sabbath day holy? I testify that he does in eternally meaningful ways. I further testify that when we eventually see things through the proper perspective of eternal truth, we will be amazed at how much we were blessed in important—though often unperceived—ways through keeping the Sabbath holy.” Our family has been blessed.

I found delight last Sunday in watching one son captivate two Primary children who were watching him take down the flag from the flag pole. And, seeing a son mouth the words of the sacrament hymn while he was preparing the sacrament, helped me worship more fully. Our example to others is always a way to serve.

When my son Hunter returned home at the end of July he was asked to return in August to report to the stake high council on his mission. He said this: “When I left, I visualized my perfect mission. And obviously that didn’t and never does happen. Nevertheless, I feel like I can say that I did what I needed to do, and learned what I needed to learn. One of those lessons is consecration. I’ve learned what it means to give everything to the Lord, and my desire to do exactly that grew stronger each day.”

When we make sacrifices for the Lord, small and large, we are worshiping more fully, and feeling delight in the consequences of our righteous actions.

Elder DeHoyos said, “Light comes from the devotion that we give to Sabbath day observance, in the Church as well as in the home; it is the light that grows as we keep ourselves unspotted from the world; it is the light that comes from offering up our sacraments on His holy day and from paying our devotions to the Most High—all of which enable us to always have His Spirit with us.” Our missionary Tanner, Hunter, and now Porter especially glow with this light.

This is the essence of sacrifice. When you give the Lord your time and energy, he gives you a new heart. My two sons, and now my third, chose to follow their prophet who asked each worthy young man to serve a mission. That’s a big sacrifice. But making small sacrifices, such as remembering the Sabbath day, helped them to be obedient.

May we all choose well our Sabbath Day strategies. May we be willing to make our lives a worthy sacrifice to the Lord. May we “always remember the Sabbath, keeping his commandments which he has given [us]; that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us],” to worship more fully and find delight in our daily lives. And in remembering the Sabbath, may we be blessed with His power to do good - for ourselves, our family, our community and nation, -  is my prayer.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Letter #5

Dear Family, it´s me.

The theme of this week is Time, which, unfortunately, I don´t have much of.

If you´ve been following my adventures, youvé heard about the first Brazilian who collapsed, I caught and carried. AND, it happened again. I walked into my room to change for physical activity, yuh, and there´s a lone Brazilian, crying. I walk over and am putting my arm around him when he just collapses. Exciting stuff. Don´t know where his companion was. SOO, I lay him on Elder Webster´s pristine, Marine style bed (sorry Elder W) and allow him to sweat, cough and otherwise convulse whiule I tried to figure out what to do. Eventually, gave him a blessing (in Portuguese? sure) and got some teacher people up there to take care of him.

Thought it was over? PSYCH> The next night, I´m chilling in my bed, it´s 10:30, I´m taking out my contacts and he climbs up my latter and whispers (in Portuguese? yes, keep up he´s Brazilian) that his throat is bleeding. Pop the ole flashlight back there, sure enough, blood running down the back of his throat. Tasty. Rush him to the medical desk, lady does her thing. Success. Still not sure what´s wrong with him.

For those of you who have been wondering the same thing for a while, I will squash some rumors. I'm not actually pregnant. BUT, because we had a 24 hour fast last Saturday Sunday, I pounded 4000'ish calories of straight beans and rice. I was popping a food baby, yes, but its still impolite to ask, just saying. Couldvé been offended

Not gonna lie, one of the better things that happened to me. I made eye contact with this Colombian Elder one day during lunch and sent him a little fist pump. He sent me one back. We had a little conversation through the language of dance. Then he came up, told me I had the soul of a black man and disappeared into the maze of the CTM. YUH. I always knew I had it in me somewhere.

We was definitely a little bored, just booling, learning some Portuguese. We were tossing lunch cards around, three went out the window. I wanted to throw one out to, but since mine was already gone, I convinced Elder Tebbs to let me throw his, once, from the hallway. Long story short, it hit the metal corner on the window frame and exploded, violently. Fun stuff

Just read the subheading again, update coming next week.

Little angry about this one. All you ladies (and you Dad, I promise it´s not just girls) know I´m a short on the side, long on the top kinda guy. Well, tried to get that slick zero fade (mission aprroved) and the barber got everything perfect. EXCEPT, it didn´t actually fade and the boy cut a triangle out above one of my years. My and my 3-D model of the feudal system would´ve been angry BUT, who am I trying to impress over the next two years? not my eternal companion (but, if youré out there, HMU girl)

This one was rough. I roll up on Tuesday night, slick midnight blue suit, you already know, yuh, for our devotional. SOMEONE (President Grahl) decided that it would be better if we had the heat cranked to 90. I had sweat drippping down my face to the floor. Gross stuff. Then, we had to learn this one song, to sing. It was played at about 40 beats per minute, even though it´s supossed to be at about 75. FUNERAL MARCH. Everyone is falling asleep. To prevent myself from joining them (though I later did) I narrated a funeral eulogy to my companion. This led to us hiding behind the song papers so the Sister conducting wouldn´t see us laughing/crying/sweating all over her papers. Once again, sorry Elder Webster.

This one takes the cake. Some Brazilian saw on the news in a pharmacy that North Korea tested a nuclear bomb and Japan was getting nervous and wanted permission to build their own. However, mixing languages, person to person, whatever, by the time everyone settled on a story, North Korea had dropped two hydrogen bombs on Japan, Kim Jong Un was planning on dropping an album, and the Japanese were dropping the 2020 Olympics. Had to get that one cleared up.

That´s about it, I´m still trying to figure out how to do that though,

Keep me bumping with the news. love you all,

Until next week,

Elder Led Zepplin -------> out

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chicago Cubs in Class

 "Tuesday night, after work, myself and my two colleagues headed downtown on the train to catch a game at Wrigley field and get some Chicago dogs at Byron's. Neither disappointed. While I'm a Boston man through and through, the Chicago loyal did not disappoint in support of their home team. 7th inning renditions of Take Me Out to the Ballgame and their end-of-game anthem "Go Cubs Go" were belted out with the sincerest enthusiasm and passion that I've ever seen. Wrigley is a chapel to the American Pastime, complete with it's own blue-clothed choir of angels that sing from their seats on high while umps in black robes preside below."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

College Correspondent

Welcome to the Big Mingle!

We’ve all heard of the Big Apple, or the Big Easy, well, Provo,  is the Big Mingle. Its good to be back.

Arriving Tuesday night, I stayed at TanMarie’s house that night, before finally going to my new apartment Wednesday. Its spacious, it;s clean, it's quiet…it's expensive. While I do have a private bedroom, I share the actual apartment with three others- Jeremiah, Austin, and Derik. All three are currently students at UVU.

 A quick breakdown: Austin and Derik are longtime friends from the way out in the boondocks town of Filmore, Utah. Biggest attraction/ point of interest? The Maverick gas station. They both graduated in 2014 (same as me) with Derik doing one year of National Guard before serving a mission in Chicago, (returned one month ago) and Austin serving a mission in Washington before going to Snow College for one year, and now here. I haven’t gotten to know Jeremiah as well, he grew up mostly in Albuquerque, NM, before heading to the D.C. area. He’s been at UVU for a couple years now. They all have been friendly, and seem organized and clean. I’m calling it a win, and look forward to our year together.

Annemarie also took me shopping at Costco, which was a huge help. I think I’m stocked for this semester. Its going to be good.

My first night there, I felt like a celebration was in order, so I decided to cook salmon (can’t do that often!) I might just move the coaches over to the kitchen table, they are COMFY! My packing was admittedly done without as much thought and preparation as usual, and I left a couple things sort of important (belt, bedsheets, camera, etc. ) so it was nice to remember I had a coaster (shout out to the Bach’s!) It’s nice to feel at homw.

I’m waiting to hear back from a couple companies about ”real jobs” but Friday I was happy to be rehired working with BYU Special Events – and turned right around and worked that night's soccer game, which saw BYU go down in a fantastic game to #1 UCLA. For three hours, I stood on the bleachers telling students, ”no, no, you can’t sit there, those seats are reserved.” ”But they are empty?!!!?” ”Yes, but that’s because the people bought them so they don’t have to show up 2 hours early like y’all to get seats.” Attendance record was set, 5,700+ showing up, 700 being standing room only. It was a spirited, nail-biter of a game.

After an early UCLA goal, BYU had a couple opportunities to tie it, the best coming with 10 minutes left, on a breakaway and with the goalie leaving the box, the BYU player kicked and the ball hit the crossbar. So close. A lot better than football on Saturday. One roommate from freshman year contacted me, and he took me first to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we decided not to wait three hours, and went to Texas Roadhouse. Nothing like a ribeye. Thanks Kevin! And then he dropped me off at Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Joy’s house where we (Hutchins family, Aunt Jenny, Stevie, TanMarie) enjoyed each others company and tried to ignore what LSU was doing to BYU.

First day of church today. Wrong time to be a clerk. We welcomed about 100 people into the ward. It has a good dynamic. Next week will be a regional conference at the Marriott Center, but after that, I should receive a calling……..

I git Porter’s bike he left. Left locked up with no key. I visited the campus police and they came out and cut the lock off. Our conversation was tough. "Are you a freshman? No. But the bike is parked on the freshman dorms? Yes. Actually, on the women’s freshman dorms? Yes. School hasn’t even started, how did you lose the key already? Its complicated. Do you have ID to prove its yours? No." I tried explaining, and after a thorough interrogation, they decided to simply take my info down in case anybody reported a stolen blue bike, but as one officer said, ”If I was going to steal a bike, I wouldn’t steal this one.”

On my mission, I gained such a strong testimony of the prophets, and loved every single second of general conference. However, it was essentially relegated to that, as we read only from the scriptures and a couple other books in the ‘missionary library.’ I’ve been patiently waiting to use BYU’s library, and during this laid back week have feasted on the word. Reading biographies of men  like L. Tom Perry, and Boyd K. Packer, it is obvious at once they have been prepared, chosen, and guided from on high. I am so thankful for living prophets. I know as we emulate them, we are emulating our Savior.

Ok, heading out, going to mingle in the Big Mingle. Have a great week!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Letter #4

Hola mia familia and other peoples,

These week had some big ups, not really any downs, but it wasn´t quite as jam packed as last week.
I´m joyous to hear that my letters are somewhat decent. The keyboards are all in Portuguese so any word I type comes up misspelled. Hopefully you can understand most of what I try to say.

NEWS UPDATE: Last week, in the thrilling prequel episode, we heard the story of a young man stricken with some mystery illness and the heroic attempts of our protagonist, though some would say somewhat foolish, debonair (is that a word) gringo, and his attempt to rescue.

Episode 2, Rebirth of a Dead Man
The Brazilian whom I carried off spent five days in the hospital but is now back in the arms of the CTM. Diagnosis, a raging, flaming, antibiotic resistant lung infection which, when coupled with the Elder´s rather severe asthma, resulted in dizziness, breathing problems, duh, some sort of hallucinations, and the loss of 20 pounds in four days. But he´s back and the cafeteria people are shoveling food into him.

In case you didn't pick up by the subheading, we banged out a couple of hours on the center square of Sao Paulo on Saturday. Elder W and I had minimal success but got some good stories out of it. We talked to five people, and they turned out, in this order:

1- Spoke English, profesional soccer cheerleader, had to run off to follow the other cheerleaders
2- Only spoke Japanese, not a thrilling conversation for sure
3- Initially thought to be a woman, was in fact not a woman, not a long conversation
4- Nice Indian couple, spoke English, but was against their religion to speak to missionaries about religion or something like that. Not great English, but Indians yuh @LukeMerrit
5- Midget dwarf man probably about 90 years old, but still spry enough to call us American trash and sprint down the street (Just saying, I definitely could have beaten him in a race)

(*May not be considered food by some)
I had ham crackers this week. Not ham with crackers, ham flavored crackers. Tasted about like the equivalent to taking a slice of lunch meat and wiping it on a saltine. Not too bad though.

All the songs are awful to sing, mostly just because the lyrics have to many syllables to sing to the same tune as in English.

Our bus got robbed, or was attempted. We were rolled up to one of three stoplights that people actually stop at and this dude pops off the curb and starts banging on the driver's window with a handgun and telling him to roll down the window. We peeled out. In a bus. YUH

I do take credit. We have an elder who should be on crutches but refuses to hop on them. So, we took his crutches back and replaced them with polio crutches. And strapped them to his arms. He´s on them for good now.

That´s about it.

Much love, eat your fiber,

Elder Me

Thursday, August 31, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

Okay, your letter was hysterical. Tanner's friend, Matt Stone from BYU emailed me. He said, "I read every one of Tanner’s and Hunter’s letters, and they were great, but Porter’s are hysterical. Thanks for posting them!" Your flair for writing wasn't something I expected. I never know what to expect when I send a son out on a mission, and learning more about you through your letters is always such a nice surprise.

I'm sure by now you've heard of Harvey, the category 4 hurricane that came shore north of Corpus Christi, This has been one of my favorite pictures, the shot from space:

The flooding though, is devastating. Houston received 52 inches of rain. That's 200 inches of snow. The professionals are talking about how the Texas economy is no more, because of how much work it's going to take to recover. Even the Houston temple has water inside. All missionaries are accounted for, provided with extra food and water, and will soon be part of a massive clean-up. The 52" is the highest amount of rainfall that's ever fallen in North America.

Port Arthur is also flooded. Even their emergency shelter had to be evacuated. Dallas, San Antonio and now Fort Worth have been shelter cities. Your father has had messages all week from people in other states looking to come to Texas to help the flood victims. Unfortunately, Granbury is not the ward in charge ;-)

And because all the oil refineries are in Houston, and the pipeline from the refineries is not pumping, we are running out of gas up here near Dallas. Everybody made a run to get gas, and the pumps in the city are almost dry. The price has gone up $.40.

Hunter made it to Boston safely Thursday evening. We had spent the morning getting his two big bags under fifty pounds. I think they both weighed in at 49.98 lbs. I've heard he got up the next morning at 5 a.m.for a golf game with Uncle Aaron; played massive Scrabble games with your grandmother, intense chess games with Uncle Aaron, knuckle dragging contests over who controls the remote with your grandfather, wood pile work at the Whitcombs, Rummikub contests with the Bachs, working at the church store house with Uncle Aaron...the fun never ends. He left yesterday for Utah, and is excited to be back at the Y. Finding a wife weighs heavily on his mind, as well as finding a job. He's contacted the event staff supervisor, who is excited to have him back. He also hopes to be a part of the wait staff at a Brazilian steak house.

He left Boston Tuesday, and has landed in Utah. He was able to successfully retrieve his belongings from Uncle Ben, with Megan's help. He had far less cooking supplies than he remembered, and has been at Deseret Industries several times. AnneMarie picked him up from the airport, lent him their extra vehicle while Tanner was away on business in Chicago, and took him to Costco for supplies. So nice to have help!

I got to see Cooper play in his first tennis meet. It was 99 degrees, but really feels like 106 degrees. I just sat in the stands and it was sweltering. He hurt his shoulder muscle working on his Eagle Scout bench, and wasn't able to get his usual slam first serve over the net. Only his second lob serve. His net game was a bit off as well. All his games were close, but he lost his match. His second meet he won both his matches.

Cooper heard about the airport's fundraiser, and was dropped off Saturday morning for their pancake breakfast. The high school's experimental airplane club was there as well. He was hoping to go up in an airplane for free, but only airplane take off and landing watching were offered.

Sawyer is now playing football for the middle school. He was told by the athletic director he could just kick, because of his brain cysts. He likes Sawyer, knows what a great athlete he is, and is excited to have him involved on his team. So Sawyer has been very diligent practicing, and getting Dad to help him kick.

Miller and Breyer begin soccer today.

Your bank account has $77.77, via phone; I still need your accounts and passwords list you were going to make for me.

I had five widows in the ward over for dinner. Seeing your father walk in the door, not knowing, was priceless. He handled the surprise with aplomb, and left us alone. Later, I realized he wasn't really surprised as there were a lot of cars in the driveway. What was I thinking?

Well,I'm falling asleep at the keys this morning. Know of our love for you. Give us a good update. Save those pictures. Be safe.